Saturday, December 19, 2020

Grim Times

This week Carol received a bill for a rarely used credit card.  She knew she had used it at Subway for sandwich but was blown away by huge expenditures in Cape Town, S. Africa, which pushed the bill to hundreds of pounds spent.  What? And that was only up until the statement date of November 11th. Hundreds more had been spent since. Oh, you murmur, identity theft. Many of you will know the frustrations of dealing with fraud and the exasperation that such wicked mean people are around.  Especially at Christmas. Another spot of grim reality.

Putting this into perspective, you may have noticed that God, who has all the timing in the world, chooses a time of real wickedness and meanness in the reigns of Herod the Great and his son Herod Antipas for the births and lives of John the Baptist and Jesus.  When Jesus is born Herod the Great massacres the innocents. In any happy safe story there would be an intervention. There isn't.  Jesus will begin his ministry when John is arrested (Mark 1:14).  In any happy safe story there would be a rescue of John. There isn't.  Surely John won't be beheaded in such a wanton way. He is. When Jesus is sent by Pilate to Herod who colludes in allowing the crucifixion surely there will be a reprieve. Some last moment of justice. There isn't.

From the beginning the world is a grim place for Jesus. The Herods are there at the begining and ending, inflicting fear, death, and random acts of cruelty.  Jesus comes when it is dark and he works as light in the darkness though the darkness will not overcome it.  Sometimes we behave as though Christian faith soothes out all the troubles and removes  problems and it's always going to be a happy safe story.  Christian discipleship follows Jesus today, knowing that he came within grim times to show that he is the Light of the World precisely within grim times.  Hallelujah. 

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