14 December 2017

Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

Advent, the season in the church year devoted to expectant waiting, is inexplicably woven into the commercial season of gift and year end commercial activity. This provides openings for bad sermons and blogs, decrying the sin of "secularism." Not here.

I claim that John, Jesus, Peter, and Paul were deeply involved in the secular world around them. Consider that John was murdered to silence his preaching against the sins of the Herodian succession, Jesus was executed under an (arguably false) charge of sedition, Peter and Paul were both executed for proclaiming Jesus as Lord of All, a title Caesar claimed, and James was tossed over the wall of Jerusalem for preaching against the Temple authorities.

Divorce and imperial titles are deeply secular subjects. These men were involved. The Greeks who listened to Paul supported him with gifts. Oh, and the often smuggled him out of town. Jesus sought to reform an incredibly corrupt tax collection system and preached justice for the poor.

After the disciples experienced Jesus's ongoing presence in the Resurrection, they came to understand the spiritual nature of what they called The Way. But even then, "the way" was the way to live in the kingdom here and now, along with a recognition that we too can eventually come to Paradise. The two are intimately linked.

So figgy pudding, eggnog, cocktails, gifts and tax reducing contributions are all fine. If you can afford a year end motorcycle, my son will be delighted to sell you one. Buy toys, candies and by all means feast. Jesus loved a good party.

But do not deprive yourself of the gift of expectation. Something special is coming. A major event in the history of humankind is about to be celebrated. Now that will be a party!


Anonymous said...

I really liked how hopeful you are in this post. I bet Jesus would love a good party at any point. Hopefully, we as a society remember to keep inviting him in. Amen!


JimB said...

Thanks for your comment. I think something is coming and yes it will be a party.


Anonymous said...


JimB said...

Not exactly, I do not propose that Jesus, John, James,Peter, or Paul were, how did you put it, "PRO-SECULAR." Rather consider that all of them spoke to a secular audience and called it away from piety, away from concern for themselves, and towards a just and caring community.

Did Jesus preach about "salvation" maybe. Did he call for believers to have a personal relationship with him? No. Did he proclaim the kingdom as a community of those doing what he had told them? Yes.

Is all of that secular, no I do not think it is. I think rather that if we live into the kingdom, in if it means opposition to the secular State, as in the current environment I think is necessary.

I hope this somewhat long reply helps.


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