The Smiling Heretic's Blog

Advent 2 Homily :: Wilderness


Two images today: One of the way things are; the other of things as they will be

The First

Wilderness of Judea

  • -  Place of foreboding, where wild animals roam, dry, unforgiving.
    • -  This is where Jesus was tempted by the Devil.
    • -  This is the place where men and women religious, since the begin-

ning of time, have gone to find God.

-  It was not a place for wimps!

-  The wilderness was a place where one could find God in the midst of strug- gle. A Thin place if you will.

-  John was out there, like many other theos aner men & women of god who preached and proclaimed and prophesied and worked miracles.

-  Many people came to hear these god-bearers, hoping to have an experi- ence of the holy in their lives.

-  John set up shop out there, baptizing folks in a ritual ceremony of purifica- tion in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.

-  All sorts of people came...

-  Even the rulers and leaders of the religious system, whom John called

Advent 2 :: Fleeing from, or to, God?

IMG 2085

“Who warned you to flee...?”

There is something about these words of John the Baptizer that sends shivers down my spine. I know that he is confronting the religious rulers of his day—Sadducees and Pharisees, the men who regulated right worship and religious practice for a whole nation—by delivering a one-two knockout punch in calling them out as slimy vipers and casting aspersions on their patronal lineage. But the words really seem to hit home for me.

Yes, I could be, for lack of a better term, considered a modern day Pharisee [no Sadducee am I, for they didn’t believe in the resurrection!]. After all, I am charged with regulating right worship and religious practice as a priest of the Episcopal Church. John’s words don’t strike at me because of all that. And, yes, I’ve been called out as something much worse than a slithery, slimy, snake-in-the-grass and I must admit—to my shame—that I have taken advantage of my privileged, white, male lineage. But that’s not why John’s words give me fits either.

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