Sorry I've gotten away from this. I really do want to share more of my sermon writing process and hear about yours as well.
I love John the Baptist! I think he is one of the most compelling characters in the Bible. One of the things that is interesting though is that we tend to talk about John's message during advent. The lectionary passage for this week is Matthew 3:1-12. Nothing wrong with that. John's message is important. But as I finish my Answering the Call series during advent, I thought we could learn a lot about John by his origins, his call, so to speak. So I'm preaching on big sections of Luke 1.
One of the striking things for me is how similar John's story is to Samuel's story in I Samuel 1 and 2 (which I reached on a couple of weeks ago): born to a previously barren woman, dedicated to God before his birth... it all felt very familiar. I'm thinking about John and Samuel in their similar "kingmaker" roles.
What fascinates me about John is his ability to be defined by his relationship to Christ. I see him saying "I'm not the guy, I'm the guy who points to 'the guy'". Even from the womb, John's joy is in pointing others to Christ.
Hannah's song in the Samuel story gets replaced by Zechariah's song in Luke. Both are songs of joy, rejoicing in God's justice. They are thrilled that they get to be apart of God's story. I think that's where I'm going this week. Do we understand our call as a call to be a character in God's narrative? It's not our story. It's God's and we should be overjoyed to have a role, to discover that role, and to live into that role. I think especially in advent we have the unique opportunity to point towards the God who comes into the world to bring justice.
That's what I've got so far. Thoughts? What are you preaching on this Sunday?