Halfway through Advent we become accustomed to thinking about both the darkness and light of this season, but this Sunday’s scriptures stretch us even further. Did you ever hear John preach – really hear him? He pushes us to think of Advent’s light as the Spirit’s refining fire in addition to the flickering candles on our wreath. Though the words of John can seem dark and ominous initially, the crowds, the people seem eager for his teaching asking, “What then should we do?” This response is hopeful good news! And John has even better news: Because the Messiah is coming to baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire,” life will never be the same. Through baptism ‘business as usual’ will be replaced by a fruit-bearing, joy-yielding, grace-filled, hope-ful relationship with God. It’s an excellent reason to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4). Did you ever hear John preach? If so, you would know his message is still the same today as ever: The Lord is near! Join us this Sunday as we too ask, “What then should we do?”
The scriptures for this Third Sunday of Advent are Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, and Luke 3:7-18. Songs for this Sunday are #240 “Light One Candle” vs. 3, #519 “Open Your Ears”, #249 “On Jordan’s Bank”, and #248 “People, Look East”.