John the baptizer’s prophetic words are limited to simply announcing that an important “someone” (that is, some person intimately connected with and empowered by God) was coming. John’s real focus here, however, is on calling for right relationships between people. It is unjust relationships of manipulation, extortion, and cruel power that prop up empires. Over time, their power increases until individuals respond cynically to suggestions that change is possible (or, in extreme cases, even good). Repentance for unjust dealings is called for and John calls (as Jesus will) for that confession and life change. Even at this early moment in time, the stage is set for a clash between the two – Jesus’ righteous justice and empire’s unholy and unhealthy relationships.
This week engage in “acts of disobedience” to the powers of empire. Do so without using violence or engaging in dishonest speaking or acting. Defend a vulnerable person at the moment of suffering being inflicted by a more powerful force, or ask questions and study to understand the history, geography, and dynamics of the oppressive force, person, or organization. Work to restore a segment of creation degraded by destructive, self-serving organizations and/or challenge the assumptions or actions of the self-serving powerful. Believe it is possible that justice can be practiced and, yes, change can come.
Seasons of the SpiritTM Wood Lake Publishing.