The road to Advent: A counterintuitive Messiah
Hello church! This past summer I started reading Frank Herbert's exceptional Dune series. I admit I'm super late to the game but the trailer for the new movie piqued by interest. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into but quickly discovered it's a tragic storyline with the moral lesson to be wary of Messiah figures in our culture. Herbert's writing is chilling as it almost feels like the dystopian world he describes is the culture in which we find ourselves in. (Going to get "Political" here for a hot sec. Stay with me it will make sense and I don't think offend.) 2016 brought the rise (and fall) of Donald Trump who evolved the GOP into the Trump party and those that didn't get behind this new "messiah" were traitors to the party. (Look at Mitt Romney, for example.) 2020 brought language around Joe Biden as "Saving America." A not so subtle nod against Trump and his party. For those on the right they had their 'messiah' and for those on the left (and moderate) rallied behind the new 'messiah'. Larger than the drama of the US our world faces its own climate crisis. Ultra billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates are looked to as the 'messiahs' of saving our climate from itself with their rapid new technology and nearly infinite amounts of money. Have we lost sight of what the messiah looked like?
Jesus came from Nazareth, the slums of Galilee. Jesus ate with outcasts, criticized those in power, and died at hands of the state. In other words - Advent is a yearly reminder that no politician or billionaire can "save" us. Only God, revealed to lowly humanity through Jesus Christ can save us from ourselves. Further, the irony of Advent being caught up in the consumerism of our current Christmas expectations only feed more power to people like Bezos whom Jesus would be 100% against. As of the time of this publication tomorrow is Black Friday. I implore you friends to remember what Advent is all about and resist the consumerism that Black Friday tempts us with. Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. Give yourself to God this season.
Scripture to Read
In this well known story and reciting of the proclamation of Isaiah 61 Jesus is driven out of his own hometown because he is claiming to be the Messiah but is not what the people expect. When we lean into the belief that our messiahs must be rich, powerful, influential, etc. we also drive out Jesus from our hometowns. As we approach Advent this season let us reimagine what the Messiah looks like for us and give our full trust that Jesus can and already has saved us from the forces of sin.
Questions to Consider
Where would Jesus hail from if he were born unto us today? Who would he rally against as an adult?
How much do I envy the rich and powerful? What about them is most enticing to me?
How much shame do I associate with the idea of "lowly?"
Praying the Hymns
Our hymn for today is probably new to many if not all of you but I believe it captures the image of who and what Jesus was for the world. I invite you to join in song or spirit as we sing Jesu, Meek and Holy.