John the Baptizer Gets That It's About Jesus, but Doesn't Get What Jesus is About

John the Baptizer doesn't get it.  At least, not all of it.
The Gospel text for this week is John's fiery sermon, the only one we have from him, where he warns everyone that the Divine ax is lying at the foot of their tree, ready to cut them down if they don't repent from their sinful ways and start again.
You can read the whole thing here, by the way.  It's from Luke 3:7-18.  Go ahead and read...I'll wait.
So, a few things about John the Baptizer, his sermons, and these verses:

1.   It doesn't appear that John is happy that people are seeking repentance.  "Who warned you to flee from the wrath that is to come?" he asks.  It's almost as if he thinks that the people deserve, and should get, "what's comin' to them." We like the name-calling God that John speaks of, the one who labels us "brood of vipers." John is about Divine retribution.

 

2.   His advice for the people wondering how they should behave isn't new or novel. For the neighbors he tells them to share with one another.  For the money-makers he reminds them not to take more than their fair share.  For the people in power, the soldiers, he reminds them that they can't use their power wrongly.  None of this is some big secret...it's like my Mama always told me, "You know how to behave. Do it!"

 

3.   John's rhetoric is so honest, so alarmist, people begin wondering if he's the Messiah.  He's saying exactly what they expected from God: a message of warning and retribution.

 

But John knows he's not the one.  Something in his gut tells him it's not him.

He knows it's about Jesus, ultimately...even if he can't put his finger on just who Jesus is yet.
He will, but not yet.   Read more.
This Sunday's Readings
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Isaiah 12: 2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

Poinsettia order deadline has been extended to this Sunday. If you want to order a poinsettia to bless our Christmas celebration in honor/memory of a loved one, complete the form in the bulletin insert or contact the church office.

Sunday Morning Education: Refugee Circle of Welcome - Sunday, December 16, 9:30-10:30 am, Fellowship Hall  Learn from Adrienne Morton of Lutheran Services Carolinas about the pathway to resettlement for people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape persecution, war, or violence. 

Gingerbread House Decorating originally scheduled for this Sunday at 1:00 pm has been cancelled.

Bible Study with Pastors - Tuesday, December 18, 9:30 am, Underwood West - Join us for a study of the nativity stories of the Bible. 

Final Mid-Week Advent Vespers - Wednesday, December 19, 7:00 pm -  Join us for Holden Evening Prayer followed by a time of gathering and refreshments.

Worship on Wednesdays (WOW) with Pizza Dinner -  Wednesday, December 19, 5:15 pm, Fellowship Hall   - Join us for pizza at 5:15 pm followed by a family-friendly worship at 5:30-6:00 pm.

The Longest Night -  Sunday, December 23 at 5:30 pm - 
Christmas can be difficult for those who are grieving. This service honors them and gives hope in the season.

Christmas Eve -  Monday, December 24 
5:00 pm  - Come celebrate the birth of Christ with our family service.
7:00 & 9:00 pm - Come celebrate the birth of Christ at one of our candlelight worship services.

More information about upcoming events is available in  this week's  

The winter edition of The Shepherd's voice is now available online.
Health and Healing  for  Imogene Beichner, sister of Elaine Sardi

Sympathy to Eleanor Melcher and family at the death of her husband Orv.

For the Orphans of Mnene Parish , including  Komborerai Moyo  a nd  Happiness Chipa .

Kombo, 15, is taking Form 4 classes at Msume Secondary School.  He wrote to his GSLC family, saying that he is working hard in school. He said he loves futball (soccer) and is the best on his team.  He is very grateful and thankful for the love and support he receives from the Good Shepherd community. His Mail For Mnene partner is Paul Lester.
 
Happiness, 19, is a quiet, petite young lady.  She works hard, encouraged to do her best because of the positive example of her 2 older siblings, also in our support program.  She failed all her secondary (high school) classes. Mnene staff are working to secure her a post-secondary position doing hand skills at vocational school.  She visited with our 2017 mission team. Her Mail For Mnene partner is Sue Ragone, who received a letter from Happiness earlier this year.
 
Visit the Wittenberg Information Center in the Narthex for photos of this week's orphans and  more information on the Mnene Ministry.
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