Preparing For Worship: When Love Comes To Town

Preparing For Worship: When Love Comes To Town

John Haralson   •   February 3, 2017

“There is a fundamental distinction between saying 'we question the Bible' and 'the Bible questions us'. It is common, in congregations, to hear of subjects like 'Using the Bible in Small Groups'. But we do not 'use' the Bible; if we attempt to do so, it will slip away from us, leaving something opaque and very much less dynamic in its place. Contrary to the story line in many 'spiritual' journals, the biblical narrative does not tell of our journey towards God; it is the other way around. The right approach is not 'What questions do I have to ask of the Bible?' but 'What questions does the Bible have to ask of me?'”
The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge

Dear Friends,

John the Baptist was a whistleblower.

He stepped into a situation filled with “God’s People” who were convinced they were morally superior to their pagan neighbors. They were more interested in “playing church” and enjoying their own private blessings from God while insulating themselves from the poor and broken.

So, he went out into the wilderness, near the ruins of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah―places notorious for their wickedness. And, he preached to God’s people, telling them that if they wanted to know God, they were going to have to come out to Sodom and Gomorrah. They were going to need to confess that they were no better than the people they morally despised.

And, he told them they were going to need to be baptized in the Jordan River.

You need to know that baptism wasn’t for God’s people...baptism was for the unclean. Baptism is something pagans did when they converted to Judaism. And, the Jordan River is what the ancient Israelites passed through on their way to the Promised Land.

John is powerfully telling God’s church-going people that they need to start over.

Those that heard God’s message from John were convicted of their sin and brokenness. They asked John how they needed to prepare to welcome God into their lives.

John’s reply was simple:
           Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none,
           and whoever has food is to do likewise.

There is so much more to this story that I look forward to telling you. But for now, note how John succinctly states that God’s people should be known for our generosity with others and care for those in need.

I hope to worship with you on Sunday.

This week: When Love Comes to Town, Luke 3:1-17

Liturgy is here.

Warmly in Christ,

John