Scripture Text: Luke 3: 1-6 (Advent 2C)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Well, we know it’s Advent when John the Baptist shows up again! Most of us don’t really know what to do with John. After all, he was actually a little bizarre. John was this wild wilderness man who wore animal skins and made his meals off of locusts and honey and whatever else he could find in the wild. He was actually a little radical, preaching what could probably be considered hellfire and brimstone sermons to convince people of his message. OK, maybe John’s “bedside manner” had a little to be desired. Yes, John was the one who never quite conformed to the way of this world, to acceptable society, but rather chose to focus solely on what it was God was calling him to do.
John never claimed to be more than he was. His only mission was to point to the one who was coming, the One that would BE God in our midst, the One that would baptize us with water and the very Spirit of God. So, though his preaching was often fiery and overly-zealous and maybe even a little off-putting, John was a Light-Gatherer. Light-Gatherers do more than just look for the Light. They do more than follow the Light. Light-Gatherers walk into the Light, gather it in, and reflect it off of themselves. Jesus taught that his disciples and his followers were called to be a Light to the world. That is what John did. He was a Light-Gatherer.
Creation is full of light-gatherers. You remember photosynthesis, don’t you? It’s the process by which plants take in light and transform it into energy and growth. That’s probably a really good lesson for us. We, too, are called to be Light-Gatherers, to take in the Light and transform it into energy and growth for ourselves and for the world. Then we are called to reflect that Light, the Light of God, into the world. We are called to be a beacon, a Light-Gatherer of the Light of God. So, in this season of Advent, go toward the Light but don’t stop there. Gather the Light and reflect that Light to the world. Be a Light-Gatherer.
Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light. (Albert Schweitzer)
Grace and Peace,