Prayer: Lord God, teach us how to live to our neighbors and to you. Amen
Reading: Luke 3:7-18 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I just love John the Baptist’s reproach of the crowds in our reading! As a pastor, sometimes I want to say those same lines to individuals or church council when discussions turn towards an earthly focus of money, church building, Christian education curriculum, collecting visitors, or any other well-meaning church related subject that keeps us from being focused on Jesus. “You brood of vipers!” And the crowd is so shaken that they ask a question.
“What then should we do?” And John’s reply is one of kind action. He says, you know all that stuff that you have that you save for yourself? Yea, that stuff, give it away. Do you really need two coats or all this extra food that is probably past its expiration date? Oh and tax collectors and soldiers be fair and happy with your job and wages. Don’t use your position of power for personal gain but for the good of all people. It basically comes down to think of the well being of others as well as, if not before, yourself.
Even in Jesus and John’s day, this was counter cultural, just as it is in ours. We live in a “take care of yourself first” and a “first come, first serve, too bad for all the rest” society. But as Christians we are called to more. We give of our excess, and yes we have excess. We give to the holiday charities that do toy and food and clothing drives. We give to social service agencies locally and in the church to further the mission that John puts us on and Jesus affirms, that we are to love and serve our neighbors. How are you doing that as we get closer to Christmas? --Peter Horn, Camp Mount Luther Board Member
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