Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bad News, Good News

The editors of our local paper got in a bit of trouble after printing a large advertisement announcing a gun sale on the same page as part of their report on the recent mass killing of little children and teachers at a school in Connecticut.

One of the Charlotte television stations reported this morning that the newspaper staff has apologized for their blunder.

That makes me feel a little better about my own editorial errors.

This morning's Gospel reading from Luke 3 delivers shocking news from John the Baptist that people need to shape up, to repent, or they will be burned like chaff in the Messiah's unquenchable fire.

Bad news... if you don't repent and be baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. Luke 3:7-18
Good news? Yikes!

The good news is that we don't have to be chaff.

Judging from the bad news delivered in the newspaper this week, there is going to be plenty of chaff that won't listen to the good news, and there will be plenty of fuel for those unquenchable fires for some time to come.
"Teacher, what should we do?"
Repent and be baptised. Believe in Jesus, the only Son of God, our only Saviour, our only advocate.

Brother, do we ever need one.

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