The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
We all love a good conspiracy theory. We somehow like the drama of not knowing who it really was that hatched the secret government plan, or just exactly what does go on at Area 51. Perhaps we like conspiracy because we like to feel like just for a moment we are caught up into some almost otherworldly experience; to fantastic to be true but really happening. Whatever the case, we like conspiracy theories. After a quick google search I found several websites devoted to conspiracy theories. One of the more interesting was an article which detailed conspiracies that ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Here is the link: http://www.cracked.com/article_15974_7-insane-conspiracies-that-actually-happened.html
From a failed facist coup of FDR to the classic “who shot Kennedy” the conspiracies in the article are quite entertaining. My favorite story in the conspiracy theory genre is the Bourne series which was also made into a great film trilogy starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a top secret CIA operative who has a bad case of amnesia and the bureaucrats want him gone before he remembers! Like most other conspiracy theories or stories that catch our attention, the Bourne Trilogy takes us all over the world in high speed car chases and involve persons at the highest level of government.
Advent is a similar sort of conspiracy. As the great old hymn goes, “Long lay the world in sin and errant pining…” Then out of the wilderness screams a voice, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” Additionally, our voice in the wilderness conspirator calls everyone to repentance, even and especially (gasp) God’s chosen people, the Jews! It’s not hard to see why our prophetic conspirator later lost his head! Repent! God is coming!
And that my friends is the conspiracy of Advent. Like so many things about God’s Kingdom, what we least expect is exactly what God does…and conveys that message through the least expected form. The conspiracy of Advent is that God spoke through an insane, locust eating, “wild honey” drinking, camel’s hair wearing prophet to herald God’s coming into the world. The conspiracy of Advent is that God would even care enough to come to the world which had for so long been racked with “sin and errant pining” as the song goes. The conspiracy of Advent is that in the face of all of the –isms I talked about last week which have co-opted the real message of the coming Christ child, we are called to repentence and preparation to honor the incarnate Word of God. The conspiracy of Advent is that however many times we’ve said “no” to God, God doesn’t leave us alone because God comes to be with us – this is what Emmanuel means after all, God with us.
So this is a call to join the conspiracy! Join the conspiracy by doing Christmas differently. Join the conspiracy by honoring God more than yourself. Join the conspiracy by becoming caught up in the realization of God’s incarnation which means salvation. Join the conspiracy!
Blessings for the journey,