Crying in the Wilderness

toy gunOn the second Sunday of Advent John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness crying, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”  His diet is all natural and his message unnatural:  “Repent.”

On the third Sunday of Advent, while the news from Newtown was fresh,  he was still around, just like Old Dan Tucker.  A voice still crying in the wilderness.

This week it has been funeral after funeral, memorial service after memorial service, in Newtown, Connecticut and surrounding communities.  I opened the morning paper on Friday to see ads for last-minute sales of a toy version of the MP5 assault rifle.

There is still time to buy your child a scaled-down model of the gun that killed 20 school children.  On the other hand, there is still time to repent.

I’d hoped that the National Rifle Association, silent for a week, would come out with a reasonable proposal to end the sale of weapons that no earthly use except to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Never place your hopes in the N.R.A.

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent Mary sings her “Magnificat.”  My congregation will hear this prayer, written by John Bell with verses added by this pastor:

Though hope desert our hearts,
though strangeness fill our souls,
though truth torment our troubled minds,
you have been here before.

Though confidence run dry,
though weary flesh be sore,
though conversation bear no fruit,
you have been here before.

Though havoc haunt our dreams,
though grief impose its dread
though parents weep and nations mourn,
you have been here before.

In Christ who, on the cross,
felt all our hurt and more,
and cried in deep abandonment,
you have been here before.

There is no threatening place,
no trial we could know
which has not known your presence first:
you have been here before.

Through Mary’s song of  joy,
through advent born of pain,
help us to welcome you anew,
O come, Lord, as before.

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