Thursday, January 15, 2009
Change is coming...
Last Sunday we celebrated the baptism of Jesus. It's always a curve ball for me. I'm still contemplating the visit of the wise men and wham! it's time to baptize a thirty year old. So much about our liturgical calendar puzzles me: we begin our New Year in late November/early December, we celebrate the Holy Innocents before the wise men's visit, we put Jesus in the tomb on Friday and celebrate Easter on Sunday... hardly three days in the ground by anyone's count. And yet other things seem pretty specific: The Annunciation is nine months before the birth... that's linear. Yet some of these wonky celebrations serve as a reminder that God's time is not linear, even though my pea brain likes to think it is.
Our celebrant on Sunday did a time-skip himself. he began by describing John the Baptist and then explored the differences between John and Jesus. John preached that change was coming. That you'd better get ready for it. Then he skipped to our time, our now... where change is still being preached and we're also told we'd better get ready.
But ready for what? Global warming? Economic meltdown? Violence? Hunger? War in the Middle East and Africa? Strife in the Anglican Communion? These issues don't seem especially new.
People went out in droves to hear John the Baptizer. Jesus went too, for whatever reasons we like to attribute to His motives. Our celebrant suggested that Jesus identified with John's message of change and wanted to be a part of it.
But hardly anyone was ready for the message Jesus brought. If He appeared today I doubt many would want to hear it either. God did a new thing in Jesus. New, radical, and against all understanding of fairness and common sense. We've tamed that message over the years, sanitized it, packaged it, revised it to meet our needs.
When will we ask what God needs? What God wants from us?