It’s almost Advent…..
Hey, if the stores can start Christmas before Thanksgiving, I can get a little excited about Advent….
Let’s begin with a quote this week
“With one foot firmly planted in the Old Testament and the other squarely standing in the terrain of the New Testament, John the Baptist is the prophetic voice brought to a single point and focused solely on Christ Jesus. As Martin Franzmann put it, “We who give ear to the voice of John, the great Advent preacher, can never grow casual about Him and His mercy. Nor can we who have heard the Baptist’s Advent cry ever think of repentance as a placid, pious exercise, a sort of routine religious daily dozen. It is the death of the old man and the creation of the new man as God’s own.” The preaching of John the Baptist scrubs us, cleaning off the pretentious spirituality that we would use to defend ourselves against God’s righteous- ness. His wilderness sermons are a homiletical laxative to cleanse us from being constipated with our putrid presumptions that the righteousness of our good intentions will suffice before God. His preaching levels mountains of pride and makes a straight way to the crib of Bethlehem and the cross of Golgotha. “—John T. Pless, Pastor Craft: Essays & Sermons (New Reformation Publications, 2020), 116-117. Quoted in Lutheran Forum Letter, December 2021
I love the “earthiness” of Professor Pless’ quote, as it also reminds me of that of Luther himself. As a recovering physiology professor I often bring analogies of the human body into my preaching, as I was justifiably accused of bringing the Gospel into my college teaching of human physiology.
John the Baptist is one of those preachers that often stepped on official toes, and indeed that hastened his martyrdom. While I do not seek such an end of my earthly time, we must always be ready to confess the simplicity of the Gospel when folks seem to want to make it complicated. As we finish our Church Year this weekend, I look forward to the radical upsetting our sinful world with the message of Christ for a new year.
God be with all of you this week of The Feast of Christ the King and as we prepare for the Advent of our God in new and surprising ways this new Church Year,
Padre Dave Poedel