Sunday, December 7, 2014

Advent 2B + John, Chaos, Call

First Trinity Advent 2014 Theme: 

When Pain of the World Surrounds Us
Advent 1 - In pain and despair, healing and hope
Advent 2 - In fear and need, love and justice
Advent 3 - In emptiness and void, God’s Spirit
Advent 4 - In struggle and confinement, grace and change

“We see with fear and trembling our aching world in need,
confessing to each other our wastefulness and greed.
May we with steadfast caring the hungry children feed.
We are called to follow Jesus and let God's justice flow through us.”
-Jim Strathdee, When Pain of the World Surrounds Us

The Holy Gospel, according to St. Mark, the first chapter: 

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, 

the Son of God. 

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, 

"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, 

who will prepare your way; 

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 

"Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' " 

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, 

proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 

And 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. 

Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, 

and he ate locusts and wild honey. 

He 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. 

I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

(Mark 1:1-8)
This liturgical year 

is the year of Mark. 

Unlike Matthew and Luke, 

who begin their “Gospels,”

their “Good News,”

their “Glad tidings,”

with fantastic, poetic, dramatic, 

even musical accounts of the beginning of Jesus’ life, 

with stories of angels and magi, 

shepherds and stars, 

prophecies and 

surprise pregnancies, 

desperate circumstances, 

unsanitary birth, 

deviant “wise-men,” and tyrannical, murderous kings… 

Unlike the gospelers who include

elaborate genealogies,

prompting us to imagine Jesus’ bloodline,

sure to note notorious sinners, 

women and men, 

and even King David and Adam and Eve… 


Unlike John

who begins his Gospel

with the Beginning,  

setting Jesus’ life in relation to the creation of the entire cosmos, 

“In the beginning was the word, 

and the word was with God and the word was God…”

Unlike John, who names Jesus “The Word,” 

and calls Jesus, with God



Mark begins his Gospel, 



“The beginning.” 

The beginning 

of the Good News 

of Jesus 

the Christ, 

the Son 

of the God. 

Mark begins with the beginning. 

Of Good news. 

And then 


and, then, 


And then 


John. The Baptist—the baptizer. The one “crying out.” 

The one in the wilderness. 

The voice speaking into the chaos, 

the void, 

the deserted places. 

Like the Word at the day of Creation, 

calling forth Life from Chaos, 

moving over the face of the Deep. 

in the wilderness,
the one saying something, 



with a word, 

even if it wasn’t the right word, 

even if it was different from what people expected,

even if it was offensive, or clumsy,

or, still forming, really...

even if it was far from what the people came out to hear, 

or to see, 

for whatever reason they came all the way out to 

the wilderness, 

to the deserted places, anyway. 

For whatever reason they chose to stare 

into the void. 

John had a word. John proclaimed.

calling fervently for change, 


and preparing 


for the world, the universe, 

the sun and the moon and the stars

the powers

and the principalities 

to change

to re-orient, 

to re-order, 

hoping against hope,

calling out in the wilderness. 
For the beginning of all things. 
For the end of all things. 

For the birth and consummation and completion of all things. 

John, calling out, 

in the chaos, 

to the face of the deep,

into the void, 

the gap, 

the chasm-fixed,

for the haves and have nots, 

to privileged and oppressed, 

mountains, and valleys, 

the uneven and rough, 

the grass that withers and flowers that fade,

amidst injustice, death, separation, 

race and class and orientation

in the Wilderness 

into the face of the void

calling out for a Word that 

doesn’t die, that doesn't kill

that doesn't pass away...

a Word that is more powerful, 

A Word in flesh, 

A word in bodies... 

A Word in solidarity

promised to Resurrect. 

A breath, blowing over the chaos,

calling into the face of the Deep. 

Shouting for Metanoia. 

For repentance, 

For change, 

For something 

For anything. 


Crying out in the deserted places.

For the Beginning. 

The Beginning of the Good News. 

Of Jesus. 

The Christ. 

The Son. 

Of the God. 

I wonder how God is calling you to change. 

I wonder what God hopes for the world. 

I wonder how God is calling you. 


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