Thursday in the 3rd week of Advent
2 Pet. 2:10b-16
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The imagery from Isaiah and the Psalms show us a God who is the "God of gods" and who has created all of the earth, and who will come to the earth to judge the earth - and all things will be changed. The valleys exalted and the rough places plain, all things will be flipped on their heads. The imagery is striking, and reminds us of the power of God, the real, tangible, measurable, feel-able, power of God.
Likewise, John the Baptist shocks his disciples with the notion that the one who is coming will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Fire! Fire, which brings life, but can wreak destruction. The wild man, John the Baptist, has gotten in touch with the wildness and the wilderness and has felt the power of God - and he is a witness to this power, made real on earth.
When we blur our eyes, we may see these scenes as more pastoral and full of calm beauty than was ever intended. The coming of God will turn everything on its head, it will be feel like the power of a raging fire. The hope is that this wild God who is the God of all gods, and who created the heavens and earth, and who could destroy it all is also the God who became incarnate as a vulnerable child, and who has shared our humanity - not a faraway distant God giving out punishment and reward. No. This God is both the one who spoke from the whirlwind to Job and is also the God who became human as a child in an occupied land.
This God is the God of gods, but also is the God who loves us, cares for us, and holds us lovingly in his hands.
~The Rev. Peter M. Carey
|1||The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; *|
he has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
|2||Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, *|
God reveals himself in glory.
|3||Our God will come and will not keep silence; *|
before him there is a consuming flame,
and round about him a raging storm.
11 'I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who
is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Rev. Peter M. Carey Associate Rector
Emmanuel Episcopal Church Greenwood, VA
Visit us on the web at www.emmanuelgreenwood.org