Sunday, December 09, 2007

Go Ahead and Point (it's okay, honest!)

(Read Matthew 3:1-12)

Every year, I look for him to show up in the manger scene set up in our narthex. And once more, I am disappointed. No ceramic figure dressed in camel's hair holding a handful of honey-covered locusts. Once again, I've scoured all the card shops, but not a single one has a card with John the Baptist on the front, with a message on the inside reading: "Merry Christmas, you brood of vipers!"

Yet, this year as in every year of the lectionary cycle, John the Baptist shows up in the gospel reading. Every year! Why? Why him, of all the people we could read about? Why him, of all the people to show up in church every year?

Maybe he comes on the scene each and every year as a model for what our role should be as followers of Jesus. Simply put, we are to speak to people about the One who has come, and is coming once again to set up house in our hearts. We are simply to trust that the promises made long ago to a prophet, to a pregnant teenager, to a bunch of shepherds will be fulfilled once again this year. We are simply to be filled with the hope that says our words, our actions, our prayers, our simple and ordinary lives are all a part of the story told at Christmas.

Like John, we stand in the midst of folks who can be hypocritical, who can be fairly shallow in their faith, who seem to have trouble putting their faith where their mouths are (in other words, folks just like you and me!). And what are we to do. Simply point.

Point to the one who is coming down the road, whose image we can barely see in the gathering dusk, whose head just appears over the top of the horizon. To point and say, "There! There is your hope; there is your joy; there is your peace; there is your life!"

To point - and then to step off the path so we don't get in the way of the reunion of the lost, the last, the little, the least with the One who knows them by name.

Prayer: If we would walk the way to Bethlehem, Brooding God, we need to stop pointing fingers at those who we believe are not bearing fruit as we think they should, and start pointing to the One who is coming to hear all those crying from the wildernesses of their lives, and to lead them home to life with you. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

1 comment:

t-h-u-r-l-a-n-d said...

Here's a John the Baptist Card -