Gottesdienst
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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Portals of Gottesdienst: Thoughts on Nativity of John the Baptist

Comfort, comfort, my people. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. And so John the Baptist shows up and what does he proclaim? "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at Hand." Comfort? Tender speech? What gives? Yes, all those. For he comes to prepare the way of the Lord. He preaches the Truth to make Way for Life. He preaches the Truth, which bears the Holy Spirit, to cause true worship. He preaches the Truth so that all who hear his sermon will receive salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.

The truth hurts. The truth exposes us for who we really are inside and out. Mirrors don't lie. Neither does the Truth. It cuts, it bashes, it lays to waste every carefully devised falsehood. Every lie we tell ourselves to help us feel better about ourselves. My kids aren't crazy, they're just active. I'm not overweight, I'm just big-boned. That's not a baby, a human being, but a fetus, a zygote, a bunch of cells. I'm really good most of the time except when I'm not. The Truth hurts. Repent for the Kingdom of God it at hand. He is standing right in front of you. He is Jesus, the perfect, sinless, son of the Most High God. How do you measure up? You don't. You can't. And if you're honest, you don't always want to. So Repent.

And the Truth will set you free. It will free you from your need to make your own way. Free you from attempting the futile, free you from banging your head up against the wall of God's perfect, immutable will, against His Law. Free you from having to fulfill it to escape His wrath. Freed because the truth is someone has fulfilled it for you. And his name is Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He has done all that it required and endured the punishment it requires for all who have transgressed it. 

Thus freed, the Truth now comforts. It's the tender speech of a lover taking care of his beloved. It is a salve that binds up the wounded after the war is over. It's the good news that tells them that the war is over. That everything is done, completed. That all is safe.  Because the war is over. It has been won. It is finished in Jesus, who has saved you. Thanks be to God.