Luke 1:17 ~ And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
John the Baptist. One of the characters of Christmas that I seem to gloss over until it comes to his beheading. And then I quickly read past it because it breaks my heart to think of the profound immorality of the world then and now. Not much has changed in regard to religion. And I use that word only to generally define us. John the Baptist wasn’t religious. Religion wore a fancy robe, John wore camel hair. Religion drank wine and had fancy hors d’oeuvres, John ate locust and honey. Religion pointed a finger, John pointed people to Christ. Religion was pompous and societal, John was loud!!!! “Prepare ye the way!!!” He cried. Even Isaiah warned the people about him.
Isaiah 40:3 ~ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Sunday as we prepared for the Christmas Cantata, our sound man Carl, struggled to hear the voices of the music. (He didn’t know there wasn’t any on this particular part of the sound track.) In his attempt to find them he turned the split track up full blast, unbeknownst to the choir. When voices did finally come onto the track they blared out full decibel, and the entire choir just about jumped out of their skin! It was hysterical! We laughed and laughed and it took five minutes to regain our composure and get back to the matter at hand of rehearsal. Good times!
This morning it reminds me of what must have been the reaction of those stuff shirt religious Pharisees when they heard John the Baptist coming out of the wilderness and into their part of the world. Religion doesn’t like to upset the🍎 apple 🍏 cart.
My text today, Luke 1:17 likens John the Baptist to Elias, also known as Elijah. Both were men of the same spirit and disposition. They were zealous, leaders and loners. They dressed weird. 2 Kings 1:8 says that Elijah was “an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” Neither really cared about what the current trend of the day was. They both reproved kings and both suffered persecution because of it.
Religion makes me nauseous.
How to know if you’re religious. (I do, because I was)
- You not only care about what you wear (which is fine) but you judge the apparel of others (which is not.)
I personally love clothes. But, I like every kind of clothes. Yesterday I wore the cutest red 👠 shoes ever, a black lace skirt and a shiny jacket! I love them. But to the evening service, I wore 👟 sneakers and jeans. I’m truly not about impressing the masses with my apparel. I wear what I like. I fully believe it is more about my relationship with God than my relationship with a tailor.
- You care about where you live (which is fine) but you judge where others live. (Which is not.)
I love beautiful homes. I however do not live in a home that will ever find it’s way to the cover of a design magazine. It’s a double wide that’s had work done, and needs work done. It’s small, but it’s home. I raised my kids here, and they come home here. It’s got a lot of hand made goodness by my husband that makes me smile every time I see it. Because he was proud of his handiwork. It’s loud. And the kids are rowdy and sometimes annoying, but it’s where we live.
When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, he must have looked a sight! But those who listened didn’t care. They got the message. In Luke 3:3 it says of John that he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” and some folks listened and others loathed him (much like today), especially Herod the tetrarch, because John called out his sin of having an affair with his sister in law!
John didn’t judge… he left that to God; he just spoke truth and the world doesn’t want the truth. And the truth of the matter is, religious people really do care where you live and where you come from. And they care for the wrong reasons. John didn’t care where people came from, he cared where they were going! That’s good stuff right there isn’t it? Forget the neighborhoods we live in, let’s talk about where we’re moving too! Glory!