This post is an opportunity in which we as a whole community can participate in our monthly Celtic worship and experience the way each theme works in our church, in our homes, and in our lives. This coming Sunday at 11:30 AM on 16 December 2018, in our usually place of worship, we have before us a portion of the biblical text in which to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. This outline will help us all think a bit more deeply about how God is calling us in a formation of a vision for the Anglican Church in Freiburg. Remember, it is a journey! The structure that is outlined here is one where we get a brief picture of the reading, followed by some core idea that highlights the passage. I, Christopher, will offer a few of my own thoughts in regard to the passage and our community, and leave you with some questions that might be a starting off point for discussions around your home tables after Sunday worship as you enjoy a day of rest and re-creation.
Our reading will be taken from Luke 3. 7-18 which is the gospel reading assigned by the Lectionary used by the Church of England for the 3rd Sunday in Advent. With some strong words, John speaks to the crowds who have ventured out into the wilderness. Some seeking baptism, perhaps others have come just for the spectacle. There is a call to repentance; a turning away from the things that ruin our relationships with God and each other. There is also a question about John’s position, is he the expected Messiah? John makes clear that he is not worthy to untie the sandals of the One to come. I encourage you to read the full passage to familiarize yourself with the reading prior to Sunday morning.
The central ideas:
You might enjoy reading the passage several times, slowly and thoughtfully. There will surely be words and/or phrases that seem important to you. This style of contemplative reading is often referred to as Lecio Divina, or Holy Reading. Baptism, a change in lifestyle, and perhaps some rather harsh words may be what comes to the foreground during your own devotional reading. While we often prefer to be comforted by God, John is an excellent example of the prophetic calling us to places that may be uncomfortable, or unfamiliar.
Some brief thoughts:
As the temperature has begun to dip below freezing this December, the thoughts of baptism in water seem far from our minds. Baptism recalls themes of renewal, washing, death and rebirth, amongst many others. Imagine having to break the thin layer of ice before plunging into baptism. Heart stopping, invigorating or so risky that we would put it off for later?
I would like you to notice as well, the number of times the phrase “what should we do?” appears. As we will be discussing our theme, Empowering Leadership, it is advantageous that we have this gospel reading placed before us on Sunday. We have a baptismal ministry — we are called into leadership.
Around your Table:
For some of us we share meals with a generation of people around the table as small children gather with parents and extended family. Others will often eat alone, so this section of the letter is meant to be adaptable to your own setting.
- When someone comes to you and asks, “What shall we do?” what has been your initial reaction? How would you describe your leadership style?
- Some say leaders are born. Others say that leadership can be learned. Where do you stand on the issue of leadership?
- In what situations have you been comforted by leaders? Where have you been challenged by leaders?
- Where do you feel God has called you into leadership through your baptism?