the third sunday of advent
the PRAYER. . .
Stir up the wills of all who look to you, Lord God, and strengthen our faith in your coming, that, transformed by grace, we may walk in your way; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”
the DEVOTION. . .
It seems an odd question. Especially when you’re a person like John! A prophet – a prophet’s prophet – crying out in the wilderness! Preparing the way! Never pulling punches! Never mincing words! Brood of vipers! Ax at the root! Winnowing fork in hand! Yet, now, he sits in prison. Thinking. Wondering. And for the first time in his life, he’s not convinced. He’s not so sure. When the question’s asked, it’s not the question of the one asking. It’s John’s. “Are you the one or do we go on waiting.”
You see, there’s plenty of room in believing for a little humility. Fear and trembling, that’s what Philippians recommends. There are times when even the greatest of prophets shake like reeds! When soft robes aren’t limited to palaces! Truth is, we believe, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t uncertainty. We proclaim, but not always without hesitation! We administer, but we don’t always get it right! It’s one thing to be a prophet standing smugly before a crowd; it’s another thing, entirely, to be a prophet sitting alone in a prison cell …
Bob Barndt, pastor