A Prophetic Voice in the Wilderness

Grace and peace to you, my sisters and brothers in Christ

In this season of Advent

That through the coming of a Savior

We might find ourselves transformed

Through the power of the Holy Spirit

To shout throughout the wilderness

Of the Light of this World, Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen.

 

I don’t know about you,

But lately I have been at a loss for words

My heart has been heavy

My spirit weary

My entire being frightened

Because there is a fracture at seeing the reflection of Christ

In the sacredness of Black and Brown and Red faces

imagesferguson

(pause)

Advent is supposed to be a time of anticipation

Anticipating time with community, lighting candles

Joining our hands, joining our voices in prayer

Anticipating time with family

Joining in laughter

A moment where time seems to slow

Moments where our regular, harried lives are suspended

Moments where we have a moment to breathe

1stSunday.Wordle.1

(pause)

Our spiritual journeys are thrown into a sense of mysteriousness

Ourselves on our knees, because there is something in the atmosphere

We know that time is coming

When we hear Mary’s voice in hymns of waiting and preparing

My soul magnifies the Lord

For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant”

We hear Mary’s voice as we gather as people of faith

Gathering to celebrate the profound transformation that comes through a life

So fragile, so simple

Celebrating a new birth that stands to transform our world

Out of the darkness it is seemingly is steeped in

(pause)

But this Advent our souls are restless

Because the only song sung is Rachel lamenting, weeping over her children

Cradling those brown and black bodies in the streets

And we find ourselves flooding out into the open

Flowing as angry streams of suffering

Filling the atmosphere, exclaiming

I know one thing we did right

Was the day we started to fight

Keep your eyes on the prize

O Lord

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And so we have been singing this in the streets

This lamenting echoing even around the world

Those oppressed in Palestine, in China,

Those joining the fight in England and in

Those right here at home, in our own neighborhoods

We have marched in Ferguson, in NYC, in Cleveland, in Detroit

On 95th street in bus terminals, on 63rd street and King Drive

Marching down 55th and Woodlawn,

Seminarians from different faith expressions

Of different cultures, yes even of different races

We have shut down expressways, highways, walkways

We have left our office buildings, our churches

we have laid in the grass, on the cold ground

We are doing what we are called to do-

to bring good news to the oppressed

To bind up the brokenhearted”

We are professing and proclaiming the Gospel in the streets

Where it needs to be.

photo 3 (3)

(pause)

This is what we are called to

As brothers and sisters in Christ

Then why has our crying out for justice, for peace, for hope

Everything that Advent is a culmination of

Why are so many of our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ and in Faith

Questioning us of who we are?

Who are you?

Are you the Messiah?

Are you the prophet?”

Why are you even uplifting these boys?

They obviously were already criminals-look at where they lived

Look at how they were dressed

Why are you joining on the side of lawbreakers?

It’s a lost cause

There’s black on black crime

They call each other derogatory names

Why are you not uplifting the police?

You’re wrong for leaving the Seminary and marching for something so ridiculous

I am ashamed at the Church

The Church is not supposed to be involved

The Church is supposed to teach these people to follow the law.

Assimilating to these laws without question

Being submissive to the authoritative powers of this world

Instead of submitting to the restorative power

Of God, Our Creator through the Holy Spirit

Of the Gospel, which “proclaims liberty to the captives

(pause)

John-the-Baptizer2-610x377-300x185

This is where we find John in our Gospel this morning

Questioned, scrutinized about his authority

Because through his crying throughout the wilderness,

This wilderness of humanity judging humanity

Without remembering God’s love and forgiveness

John’s voice was stirring an uncomfortable reality

For many of these Levites and the Jewish priests

One commentary put it very plainly

Secular learning, honour, and power, seldom dispose men’s minds to the reception of divine light

(pause)

John’s presence stirred up uncomfortable truth

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

John’s ministry had been prophesied as a catalyst to purify the sons of Levi

Turning them back to righteousness

So, the Levites and the priests feared John and his words

John was stirring up the people

I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness”

Out of a place of confusion and of chaos

Out of a place where they rejected hearing the Word of God

Out of a place where they had failed in their relationships

With their neighbor, who they reduced as a stranger

Reducing the covenant that God had made with them

In turned that they should have made with one another.

I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness”

Crying out a message of Liberation

Freedom

Justice

Unity

Peace

(pause)

John witnessed to those in his community

And testifies to us now

prophetic action

Make straight the way of the Lord

That the way of the Lord is wholly triumphant

And fully of tragedy

That the way of the Lord is magnificent

And not malicious

That the way of the Lord calls us into the Light

The Light that can only shatter the oppression

Which poisons and pollutes this world

With God’s everlasting Word that is powerful

Prophetic

Than any destructive policy that they could pass

Than any rigorous laws that are leveled against a people

Whom they deem forgettable

Marginalized

Useless

(pause)

The Good News is that God loves justice

The Good News is that God comes to comfort those who mourn

The Good News is that God has sent the light among all of God’s People

Whether they are brown or black or red or white

Whether they are struggling with their privilege

or striving to exist

The Good News is that Jesus Christ’s love and forgiveness

Transcends and shatters the chains that we all wear

Jesus Christ, by whose birth this world is transformed into something new

By whose death this world is transformed at the foot of the Cross

By whose resurrection floods God’s People with foolishness

Foolish enough that we would take the Gospel to the streets

That we would inundate this world by marching, singing, praying

In the Light of God

Because we are not the Messiah, or even a prophet

But our collective voices are crying out in the wilderness

In the streets

In the jails

In the hospitals

Exposed to this world, proclaiming

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon all of us

God has sent us to bring Good News to the oppressed

To bind up those brokenhearted mothers and fathers

To Proclaim liberty to those held captive by this world

That we are no longer prisoners

But FREE

(pause)

Thanks Be to God.

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