2nd Sunday of Advent - 2021

Each Sunday of Advent, a Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary community member will offer a reflection on the Sunday Gospel reading. We hope the work of our community is edifying for you as we prepare ourselves for Chirst's coming.

Reflection on Luke 3:1-6

In The Wilderness 
The word of God found John in the wilderness. It might have come to any number of people in any number of places. We see the Emperor, Governor, Rulers, and High Priests over several regions and territories. Taken together, these details imply an even wider array of unnamed candidates. I wonder about the mothers and sisters of these leaders, for example, as well as the other citizens and strangers living within and beyond these geo-political borders. The word of God might have come to any of them, anywhere. 
But the word of God came to John, and it came to him in the wilderness. This suggests that God’s mysteries are not bound by historical formulas or prominent locations. God’s word breaks into any necessary place and moment. Speaking into and through a community, this word calls for a whole-body response. When the word of God came to John, he went proclaiming baptism all around the Jordan so that all might see. As the word of God comes into our own moment, how are we being called to respond? 
This Advent probably feels like more wilderness. There are new rulers and priests and countless countries and regions in need of prayer and action. Continuing to navigate COVID-19 as communities may make this moment contrast John’s, but our moment is also painfully congruent with his call to repentance – for poverty, for injustice, for racism, just to name a few. 
We wait anew for the word of God to come to us in this wilderness, listening for a word of immanent hope and grace that stirs us up toward preparing the way of the Lord. This Advent, let us foster trust in the God who shows up at the edges of our comfort and expectations. Then, with ready hearts and sandals laced tight (perhaps snow boots if you are experiencing time and place in Minnesota!), let us set out for our homes, workplaces, centers for learning, and faith communities. May the Spirit find us in the wilderness and empower us to live the word of God that continues to come. 

This piece was written by Samuel Rahberg, Director of Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary's Spiritual Direction Certificate Program