I’ve never been much for concerts or other live shows; while I do enjoy music I can’t stand the crowds. I have been though, one year I took my sister to see Tom Petty perform with the city symphony for her birthday, the other time my sister and my dad and I went to see Larry the Cable guy’s comedy routine.
For those of you who regularly attend concerts or live shows of any kind you know that before the main event you will have to first endure the opening act. The job of the opening act is to warm up the crowd, to get them a little bit more excited for the main event.
The opening act is not usually as well-known or loved as the main event, but usually they are pretty good. Sometimes people even catch their own big break opening for others. The fact remains though, you don’t usually go to a concert or show to see the opening act, you’re there to see the head-liner…
I’ve been using the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for just over 2 years now, its use is uncommon in my faith tradition; though I am sure of a few who use the 3 year cycle. One of the things that I’ve never fully understood is why, for such a short season, do the advent texts focus on things like apocalyptic texts and John the Baptist instead Jesus actual birth. You know, the manger stories, the wise men, shepherds, angels and glory in the highest. Why all three years, do we have to sit through the opening act when we could go straight to the main event?
Perhaps it’s because we the crowd, need to be prepared…we need that “opening act” so that we truly appreciate the main event. Maybe because John knows something that we could not understand without him, he needs to help us to understand seeking God and his kingdom must begin with repentance. He is affirming this in a community of repentant hearts.
Advent is not about making sure the tree is trimmed just right, or hanging our stockings. It’s about preparing our hearts to receive the King of kings and Lord or lords.
John knows he is not the main event he knows there is a greater one to come…I can almost picture him saying something like this.
“You like what is happening now? You think this is good, just wait. Something way better is on the way, I’m not even worthy of taking his shoes off. I’m just getting you a little wet here with the water, but there is a mighty one who is coming and he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus appears on the stage and the crowd goes wild…..WOOOOOOO
Let every heart prepare him room!