3 Advent – Year C

Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6 (aka Canticle 12); Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18

“We ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use we throw away.” – Plutarch

                What should we do?  The folks down by the river side were asking that of John the Baptist.  Down through the ages, and even today, the question is relevant.  The answer defines our morality, defines our identity, who we are.  We often don’t know what to do.  Otherwise we would not have wars, hunger, spurned people, illegal immigrants treated inhumanely, unreported child abuse, people with no health care, and lonely next door neighbors.  All that aside, the odds are that most people are not vicious, cruel, malicious, or downright evil.  Most of us are sincere, wanting to do what is right.  It is just that sometimes we can’t wrap our minds around what we ought to do.  Maybe that is because our upbringing or our local culture made our necks red, or our hearts cold blue, or our sentiments dull gray.  But there is always a way out.  Ask: What should we do?  One general answer is found in the teaching of Jesus.  He would have us treat people with dignity, as we would want ourselves to be treated, not like old useless shoes (Plutarch quote above).  Deciding what to do in our lives long term, and day to day, is extremely important for each of us.  The President of the United States does not have more important decisions to make than we do.  Whatever any of us do impacts the world if not the cosmos.  We are all interconnected.  Quantum physics tells us that everything is interconnected.  John the river man tells us that Jesus will wash us (see Greek below) with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16).  The Spirit is the breath of wisdom. (see Greek below)  With the wisdom to know what to do we will be set on fire.

Greek

                John tells us that Jesus will “baptize” us with the Holy Spirit and fire.  The word “baptize” in Greek literally means “wash.”  Therefore, we will be awash with the Holy Spirit, and be a fire for good that can’t be extinguished.

                The Greek word for Spirit has the root meaning of breath or wind.

Haiku

What ought we to do?

Kindle Spirit fire ablaze.

Wisdom’s breath on earth.