Prepare The Way


                                           Rev. Peter E. Bauer

                                   Recently, someone I know had a terrible ordeal trying to get appliances delivered to their home. There had been problems regarding promised delivery dates, last- minute cancellations, and even discovering that when the units were delivered they were damaged.

                                   Needless to say, this has caused a lot of consternation for my friend. Thankfully, the purchase order was cancelled; and money was refunded. Another set of appliances was bought by another company and was safely delivered.

                                   When you feel wronged, it is only natural that you feel the inclination to voice your descent, and to demand to be treated justly and with respect. Unfortunately, at times, some companies and corporations don’t extend themselves as much as they should regarding delivering quality customer service.

                                       The sting of being treated badly in a commercial transaction can extend to feeling ill will towards the offending party. Also, there can be greater suspicion and distrust towards other companies regarding the threat of receiving bad service.

                                    When it comes to injustice, there is always the agitator and the agitated. We are reminded of this when you look at current unstable regions around the world.  Uprisings occur against corrupt political regimes, and you will see a leader (s) and then there are the crowds of angry people.

                                   This was also true during the time of Jesus. First century Hellenistic Judaism was marked by severe resentment on the part of Israel due to the occupation by Imperial Rome. Against this back drop, Jesus comes and preaches about the coming of the Kingdom of God which will transform everything.

                                     According to Biblical Scholar John Dominic Crossan   when the Early Christians talked about “Jesus Is Lord”, it was not lost on the authorities that this would be interpreted as “Jesus is Lord, and therefore Caesar is not Lord. “Predictably, tension would arise between the Roman forces and the early followers of Jesus.

                                    The Gospels tell a story of Jesus proclaiming the Kingdom of God, revealing healing and forgiveness in His actions, and yet there is also a confrontation to the rulers responsible for the injustice of the time.   We know the story. Jesus will suffer and will be killed by Crucifixion per the Roman authorities. This brutal form of death was quite common as capital punishment for the first century. We also know that the Resurrection will occur, that Jesus and the Kingdom Of God will continue and will thrive.

                                   So where does that leave us with injustice?  When you are hurt, It’s only natural to want to strike back, to get even.  It’s harder to love; it’s more difficult to take the time to listen; it’s more challenging to find the course of reconciliation.

                                   This current holy season invites us to consider how we have lived our lives, how we have interacted with others and what we have done to others and what we have not done.

                                  “Forgive us for what we have done and have not done to others. “

                                    The Christian story talks about reconciliation and confrontation. When both forces are at play, there is tension, and yet there is the promise of resolution.

                                     May we be resolved to see this season as one in which we can grow, learn and become more known in the divine presence of the Holy.

                                                                     May It Be So.