“You brood of vipers! You bunch of snakes!”
How would you all respond if I started sermons with that? That’s a pretty strong way to start a message! I don’t know that I would keep listening, to be honest, if I were in the group of people receiving that message.
We’re bombarded with messages all the time. Whether it’s direct, like text messages from loved ones, or indirect, like commercials and social media, we are bombarded with messages and we need to be wise consumers of what we’re told.
Some messages are wrapped in pretty bows and they catch our attention, but they are not helpful.
Other messages have some rough edges and are not at all appealing, but they are what we need to hear.
Kinda like the Scripture we read today.
John’s message in Luke was technically delivered after Jesus was born and John was preparing the people for the message and ministry that Jesus was going to bring. He was telling them to stop relying on their ancestry, their family line, to “save” them and to turn toward spreading God’s good will.
We read this Scripture reflecting back - knowing that this is the purpose for Jesus being born - to bring God’s message of repentance and turning away from the things that destroy us as a people.
Moving past the rough edge, moving past being called a bunch of snakes, John’s message is the one we need to take in.
We need to turn toward sharing clothing and food and resources for people who are without. We need to turn toward compassion and understanding for people who are different than us. We need to turn toward extending God’s grace and love to people we encounter (and even those we don’t personally encounter).
This is the message we need to hear. This is the Christmas message.
Scripture: Luke 3:7-18
(Our Christmas Cantata presented by the choir is available on Facebook or YouTube)