The Holy Gospel: December 16, 1012 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 3:10-18

Meditation:  “The Good News of Radical Change”

Luke describes John the Baptist’s ministry as that of proclaiming good news to the people (v. 18).  But that conclusion comes on the heels of quite a bit of challenge (v. 10-14).

The people are exhorted not to hoard their coats and food.  They are told to be “squeaky-clean” in their honesty.  They’re told to stay away from every form of extortion, threats, and false accusations.  They’re told to be satisfied with their wages (which probably means not to take money out of the company that doesn’t belong to you).

In short, no one could walk away from hearing John without thinking, “Wow!  This ‘God thing’ is going to require a lot of renovation.”

And then Luke moves to call that sobering sense, good news.  Why?

Well….because there’s nothing better than living with a clean heart.  No debris.  No deception.  No dishonesty.  No duplicity.

Wow!  That feels good!  And untold numbers of people still find their way into the presence of God this Advent season without this sense of life—needing to be reminded how good an uncontaminated life really is!

There’s nothing any better than to live with an undivided heart.  The Gospel is never more “good news” than when it produces “spring-cleaning in the soul.”

Well….Advent doesn’t occur in the Spring.  But any day is a good day to clean out a closet—especially if it’s in your heart.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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