Today's Reading: Matthew 3:1-12
Political season is in full swing here in the States. That means debates and ads and any number of speeches in which politicians tell us what is wrong with the world and how they aim to fix it. As of yesterday, we also entered into the season of Lent, a season which also invites us to diagnose the world’s ills and move towards a remedy. Some of can’t get enough of the politicians speeches. Others do their best to avoid them altogether. But all of us, could benefit from listening to and meditating upon the words the church associates with the Lenten season.
When reading through the gospels, the first sermon we hear is a Lenten sermon found on the lips of John the Baptist. “Repent,” he shouts, “for the kingdom of heaven is near.” How different are his words than so many of ours. We assure ourselves of our status with God. We’re the good guys we think, because of our denominational affiliation or our nationality or our political affiliations which ever they may be! We can think of plenty of people who need to repent. We just don't think of ourselves as needing to be on that list.
We know the world is a mess, but we didn’t make it. We blame it on the poor or the rich. We blame on the immoral or the religiously uptight. We blame it on the older generation for not knowing what we now know or we blame it on the young for squandering all we provided them. We blame it on those who refuse to take individual responsibility for their shortcomings. We blame it on systems that keep people from reaching their full potential. We blame it on anyone and everyone but ourselves. Above our political debating, John, waist deep in the Jordon keeps shouting from the water to anyone who will listen, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” – 1 John 1:8