Advent 3 :: Who's Number One?



John the baptizer would never have made it in the 21st century. People nowadays are too narcissistic, too ego-driven, too concerned about appearances. Anyone who is not into some kind of self-promotion á la “whoever-happens-to-be-the-latest-celebrity-wanna-be” is just out of the loop. Perhaps, when dealing with a population of over 6 billion people, it pays to stand out in the crowd just a bit so that folks will take notice of you, but we’ve gone way beyond that. We don’t just want to stand out: we want to be NUMBER ONE!

Okay. This might all be a bit overly dramatic, but look at JTB. Here’s a guy who obviously cared nothing about personal celebrity, or for personal hygiene for that matter [Have you ever taken a whiff of sweaty camel hair, or locust breath?]. He appeared as a crazy man in the desert yelling at people to get ready for the judgement day. He didn’t care what people thought about him. He spoke the truth to power and lost his life as a result. The only thing he was about was the proclamation of the coming of Christ. He would’ve been a PR firm’s worst nightmare.

When faced with questioning religious apparatchiks wanting to see his CV [“Are you the one we’ve been waiting for?”] his response could hardly have more selfless. “No. I’m not the one. I am not who you are looking for. I am just a voice. Even what I am doing [baptizing people for the forgiveness of sins] is insignificant compared with the Coming-One!”

John realized his sole purpose was in announcing the Coming. Nothing else mattered. Any opportunity he might have had to share something of himself, some tidbit of information about who he was, what made him tick, his likes and dislikes were all filtered through the lens of his proclamation of the advent of Christ. For John nothing else mattered.

We could all stand to learn a bit from him.

Something to ponder:

How is your life a proclamation of Christ’s coming?

Link to RCL Lectionary for Advent 3

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