I want to thank Jay Jay E. Johnson for the ideas in this very brief homily. Christ Curch, Gardiner decided to do an Advent Lessons and Carols yesterday, and I struggled to find a short message to move us from the lessons and gospel of the day into Eucharist. This is what I came up with:
Prophets tell us the truth about the present. They are not predicting some distant future. John the Baptist, whom the Orthodox call the Forerunner, is speaking truth to people who are coming to him for baptism and it is this speaking truth that infuriates so many. That is what cost him his head. But truth telling is one of Advent's invitations. An invitation to listen to prophetic truth tellers. But it is about more than just listening. It is about action. Prophets insist that we choose where and to what we give our allegiance. We can choose to stay with the things we know; the things that are familiar and comfortable. Or we can choose to turn to the things that God is bringing about; turn toward the things we don't know. And that can be scary. This choice, what John calls repentance, means risking the comfortable and safe we know, for an unknown future. A future where we who have been baptized with water and the Holy Spirit will find God waiting.
Let us pray: "Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."
The service went well and it took just an hour and 10 minutes. One of their goals is to NOT have the service last and hour and a half.