Yr C ~ Advent 3 ~ Luke 3:7-18
(A very loose translation of Luke 3:7-18 for today’s church)
Larry said to the crowd that came out to be preached to by him, “You self-righteous jerks! Who told you God’s standards don’t apply to you? Walk your talk! Don’t think just because you hang out at a church that you’re all good. In God’s way there’s no compromise. A half-hearted faith is good for nothing.
And the congregation asked him, “What then should we do?”
In reply he said, “If you have more than you need, share. Be ethical. Be satisfied with what you get. Don’t be a jerk!”
And the people were astounded that it sounded so easy and they wondered how did Larry learn this amazing stuff?
Larry answered by saying, “Look, I’m just splashing some cold water on you to wake you up a bit. Religious rituals are just a launching pad. The real work is the part that comes next. Transformation comes over time with the fire of the Spirit, and it’s hard to allow yourself to be worked on, but it’s worth it. Do you understand?”
And so, with many other brilliant sermons, he helped the people notice!
Doesn’t that just make you feel joyous on this “joy Sunday?”
Ok, let’s start with the context. If you weren’t here, make sure you read last week’s sermon on the website.
Today is part two. It picks up immediately following last week’s reading about repentance, forgiveness, and sin where I offered to you an interpretation that said you could also understand that as meaning a transformation to a new way of thinking that allows you to let go of the negativity of feeling crappy about missing the mark so often and opening yourself to allowing God’s bulldozers to come in and work on filling in your valleys of self-pity and humbling your mountains of self-importance.
So that’s what he was teaching – and here’s how he was teaching it! Immediately after John says all that stuff he looks the people square in the face and calls them a “brood of vipers” – which I think today would translate as a bunch of self-righteous jerks! Ouch!
Please know that I’m not calling you that.
I’m just trying to give you an approximation of how it might have felt to be there. I mean these are people who made a big effort to get out to the wilderness and gave John their time and their ears and he berates them with an insult. read on