Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


A Voice from the Wilderness

In tomorrow's Gospel reading, that wild and wooly Saint of Advent, John the Baptist, is at it again calling people a "Brood of Vipers" and the like. Talk like that can get a person killed, and that's what would happen to John.

In the sermon
A Voice from the Wilderness, I once preached,
What a great way to build a following. Perhaps we should try that at King of Peace. Invite your friends and family and when they come, I’ll scream at them for having the nerve to show up in church at all. I wouldn’t try that method, but it worked for John. People lined the banks of the Jordan for John to baptize them, anyway.

However, John was clearly not interested in the cleansing power of the muddy waters of the Jordan River. There was no sense in wading out into the waters if you had no desire to change your life, making love of God and loving your neighbor as yourself as your top priorites. John was very concerned that the people he baptized lived their lives differently after the baptism than before.

In our Gospel reading for this morning he says, “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” Repentance means saying that you are sorry for the things you have been doing wrong, the sins in your life. But repentance also means stopping doing the things you know are wrong and starting to do the things you know are right. To bear fruit worthy of that repentance meant to act like someone who had changed....

“Bear fruit worthy of repentance!”

No, we can not earn our way to heaven by mending our ways. No you do not have to get your act together before returning to church. But, yes John’s message is still true.

If we want to avoid the scorching heat of his blast against the Pharisees and Sadducees as a Brood of Vipers then we should ponder if our lives are changed in any way because we are Christians. Do we live any differently because we believe? What would fruit worthy of repentance look like in our time? In our lives?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor
King of Peace Episcopal Church


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