(Submitted almost a year later, with apologies. Our guest speaker was somewhat belated in fulfilling his promises to mail us his sermon manuscript– and it might have been nice to eceiveve it *before* he visited…)
INTRO TO CONCEPT
The world of first-century Palestine was unlike anything we’ve seen:
widespread oppression and violence
terrorism, often sponsored by states
coups and countercoups
and more generally,
government accomplished through bribes and quid pro quo
stoking of fears and a celebration of scapegoating
massive shifts in cultural influences
courageous, principled resistance against the powers that be
and the the loss of, and yearning for, “pure religion”.
…so …nothing at all like our world, right?
In his excellent book, Crucible of Faith, Philip Jenkins writes about the political and religious movements of the final three centuries BCE– of this era of massive instability and impending conflict leading up to the time of Jesus, and Jesus’ predecessor John the Baptist. It was a time when previously insignificant religious ideas suddenly grew to great prominence. Concepts like afterlife, divine judgment, heaven and hell, and angels and demons which were very minor parts of Jewish religious literature were suddenly at the forefront of religious and popular conversation. And of course other religions jockeyed for prominence in that time and place.
In this book, Jenkins writes of people “Living in an age of intense cultural encounters and rapid social change,” (p. 73), and we wonder if he’s describing the world 2000 years ago, or right now, or both.
So we’ll be working hard this Advent to understand Jesus and his predecessor John in their historical context. It might help to explain why our Lectionary readings are so apocalyptic, and why John and Jesus seem so grim. It might help us to explain why Advent seems so very far from Christmas. Our hope is that we can better understand which actions Jesus and John advocate, and which then-popular courses of action they repudiate, or ignore altogether.
The Church of the Common Table (also known simply as “Common Table” and/or “CT”), it’s membership, and it’s affiliate branches of Common Tables in no way endorses nor supports the ideas, perspectives, views, interpretations, agendas, ideals, advice, and/or products of our guest speaker. We do promise to respectfully listen, but listeners are reminded that these views are of the man “John B.”, and he alone. They do not constitute the doctrine or beliefs of this church. Mr. B. may or may not be available to discuss or defend his views, but our pastoral staff will be available for counseling and listening and lunches and ‘Town-Hall’ style meetings (online and/or in person).
Please listen with attentiveness, but also listen with discretion and discernment. We hope that today’s service will challenge your thinking, without unnecessarily offending you.
Luke 3:1-18Common English Bible (CEB)
3 In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler[a] over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler[b] over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler[c] over Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 4 This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
A voice crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled.
The crooked will be made straight
and the rough places made smooth.
6 All humanity will see God’s salvation.”[d]
7 Then John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.”
10 The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?”
11 He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He replied, “Collect no more than you are authorized to collect.”
14 Soldiers asked, “What about us? What should we do?”
He answered, “Don’t cheat or harass anyone, and be satisfied with your pay.”
Responses to John
15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” 18 With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people.
Mark 1:1-18Common English Bible (CEB)
Beginning of good news
1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, 2 happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah:
Look, I am sending my messenger before you.
He will prepare your way,
3 a voice shouting in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way for the Lord;
make his paths straight.”
4 John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5 Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
(John B. enters from behind congregants, bumping a few chairs and shoulders as he maneuvers himself and his gear through the group. He is wearing an untucked black clergy shirt with clerical collar, camouflage combat pants, work boots, and a full-length black leather trench coat. His head is mostly obscured by black bandana, tactical sunglasses, and a bushy beard. Over one shoulder he carries a canvas duffel bad, and over the other shoulder he has connected two one-gallon water jugs with a length of rope.)
(he speaks loudly throughout, probably out of habit and perhaps from a loss of hearing)
DISCLAIMER? WELL, ISN’T THAT CUTE. I’LL GIVE YOU A DISCLAIMER OF MY OWN:
I ENDORSE MY OWN IDEAS. I’VE COME TO MY PERSPECTIVES CAREFULLY.
I’M COMPLICIT IN MY OWN COMPLICITY. I’M GUILTY OF MY OWN GUILT.
I KNOW MY COMPLICITY. I’M AWARE OF MY OWN GUILT.
HOW ABOUT THE REST OF YOU?
I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR MY VIEWS. ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR *YOUR* VIEWS? OR DID YOU INHERIT THEM FROM YOUR PARENTS, OR YOUR PASTOR, OR YOUR EMPIRE??
ALSO: (speaking even more loudly to the staff at the front of the house) I DISCLAIM THIS COFFEE. I ROAST MY OWN COFFEE IN A CAST IRON SKILLET, AND IT TASTES BETTER THAN THIS. FOR A LOT LESS MONEY. EVEN I KNOW THAT THIS IS OVER-ROASTED.
(gently) GOOD MORNING!
MY NAME IS JOHN, AND I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY!!
(THAT’S PROBABLY NOT MY REAL NAME, BTW. BUT IT’S CLOSE ENOUGH, AND YOUR GOVERNMENT DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW WHO I AM. SOME OF YOU SHOULD USE A PSEUDONYM, AND YOU WOULD IF YOU HAD ANY IDEA OF HOW DEEPLY YOU ARE DUG INTO THE SYSTEM OF OPPRESSION)
(reaches into duffel bag, then thumbs through a thick binder) HAVE I BEEN HERE BEFORE? …TRYING TO DECIDE WHICH TALK TO GIVE YOU.
HAVE YOU HEARD “THE PROBLEM OF SWIMMING POOLS?”
“WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN YOUR WATER”? (takes long drink from water jug)
“TURN AND/OR BURN”?
“THE GLORIES OF SORGHUM”?
OKAY, THEN, I’LL GIVE YOU THE INTRODUCTORY TALK. I LIKE TO GIVE THIS ONE RIGHT AWAY, IN CASE I’M NOT INVITED BACK.
(hangs UPSIDE DOWN FLAG on podium) NOW DON’T GET ALL WORRIED, AND DON’T CALL THE POLICE OR THE THOUGHT POLICE. AN UPSIDE DOWN FLAG IS NOT DISRESPECTFUL. IT’S A SIGNAL OF DISTRESS. AND I’M HERE TO TELL YOU, YOU ARE IN DISTRESS.
1. WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO ME?
AFTER I GOT OUT OF SCHOOL I MOVED TO WEST VIRGINIA. NOT GONNA SAY EXACTLY WHERE IN WEST VIRGINIA. IT’S WHAT YOU’D CALL AN ‘UNDISCLOSED LOCATION’. AND SPEAKING OF ‘UNDISCLOSED LOCATION’, THAT’S WHAT YOUR LEADERS BUILT NEXT TO MY LAND! THIS WAS AFTER THAT 9/11, WHEN ME AND MY NEIGHBORS STARTED NOTICING AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC…. HEAVY EQUIPMENT, DUMP TRUCKS, THAT KIND OF THING. ALL GOING INTO A FENCED-IN AREA, A BIG PLOT OF LAND. AND LOTS OF TRUCKS FULL OF EARTH AND ROCK COMING OUT.
LONG ABOUT THE TIME WE’D HEAR BLASTING AND FEEL THE RUMBLE UNDER OUR FEET, WE GOT TO TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER… TURNS OUT THAT SEVERAL FOLKS IN SUITS HAD MADE THEIR ROUNDS TO SOME OF THE NEIGHBORS, OFFERING THEM MONEY FOR SOME KIND OF ‘LAND USE AGREEMENT’. ONLY THEY DIDN’T WANT TO USE THE LAND! NOT AT ALL. THE AGREEMENT ALLOWED FOLKS TO CONTINUE FARMING OR WHATEVER THEY WERE DOING. THESE SUIT PEOPLE JUST WANTED *ACCESS* TO THE LAND. AND THEY WERE OFFERED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, WHICH MONEY GOES A LONG WAY IN OUR PARTS. “YOU’D BE CRAZY TO SAY NO!!” IS WHAT EVERYONE SAID, BUT I’D HAVE SAID NO!! STRANGE THING IS THAT MOST FOLKS CASHED THOSE CHECKS, AND NEVER SAW OR HEARD FROM THOSE GOVERNMENT MEN AGAIN. WELL, THE ONLY THING THEY HEARD WAS THE BLASTING.
WITHIN A COUPLE OF YEARS, THE TRAFFIC DIED DOWN AND ALL THAT WAS LEFT WAS A FENCE, A GUARD SHACK, AND BIG BLAST DOORS IN THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN.
YOU CAN TELL THAT PEOPLE WORK 12 HOUR SHIFTS THERE, CONSTANTLY COMING AND GOING AND KEEPING IT ALL READY. FOLKS SAY THERE’S ENOUGH FOOD IN THERE TO LAST A COUPLE OF YEARS. AND BASED ON THE FIELDS THEY KEEP MOWED FOR PARKING, IT’LL HOLD SEVERAL THOUSAND PEOPLE! MOSTLY PEOPLE IN “GOVERNMENT INTELLIGENCE”, THOUGH YOU’LL FORGIVE ME FOR SNICKERING AT THAT OXYMORON… “GOVERNMENT INTELLIGENCE”.
THOSE ARE THE SMART PEOPLE WHO WILL BE OH-SO-IMPORTANT TO HAVE ON HAND TO REBUILD THE WORLD THAT THEY ARE CURRENTLY HELL-BENT ON DESTROYING!
OVERSTATEMENT, YOU SAY? —-HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT!!
IF THEY AREN’T EXPECTING THE END OF THE WORLD, THEN WHY DID THEY SPEND ALL OF YOUR MONEY ON THAT BUNKER?
LET ME GIVE YOU A QUICK HISTORY LESSON. THE COLD WAR, IN TWO MINUTES OR LESS: (DISCLAIMER: THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY TAKE LONGER THAN TWO MINUTES)
THE BRIGHT SHINING CITY ON A HILL, THE BELOVED USA, DROPS TWO NUCLEAR BOMBS ON THE CIVILIAN POPULATION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI. THE USA PATS ITSELF ON THE BACK, CELEBRATES THE END OF THE WAR, THROWS A BIG PARTY. SENDS EVERYONE HOME TO START A BABY BOOM. (BOOM-BOOM?)
THE USA THEN STOPS AND DOES SOME INVESTIGATION… JUST HOW DESTRUCTIVE WERE THOSE TWO BOMBS, ANYWAY?
AND FRIENDS, THUS BEGINS A HUGE ARMS RACE. DRIVEN BY ONE THING, AND ONLY ONE THING: FEAR.
WHAT IF SOMEONE ELSE DOES TO US WHAT WE DID TO JAPAN?
THAT FEARFUL QUESTION IS THE SOURCE OF THE ARMS RACE, AND THE ENTIRE COLD WAR, AND MOST OF WHAT HAS COME AFTER IT. PRESIDENT AFTER PRESIDENT CAMPAIGNED ON THE FEAR THAT THE US DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH BOMBS. THEN ON THEIR FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, EVERY PRESIDENT LEARNED THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT HAD WAY MORE BOMBS THAN ANYONE EVER KNEW! BUT THEY GOT THERE BY PROMISING A STRONGER MILITARY, SO THE ESCALATION CONTINUED.
AT THE BEGINNING, THIS FEAR OF SOMEONE ATTACKING US IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE ATTACKED OTHERS LED TO HUGE PLANNING EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS. PLANS TO EVACUATE BEFORE BOMBERS COULD ARRIVE IN LOS ANGELES, WASHINGTON DC, AND NEW YORK.
BUT AS BOMBERS GOT SNEAKIER, AND FASTER…. AND AS MISSILES CAME ON THE SCENE, YOUR GOVERNMENT CAME TO A SOBER REALIZATION– THEY COULDN’T PROTECT YOU. THERE IS NO WAY TO EVACUATE A MAJOR CITY, AND NO PRACTICAL WAY TO, SAY, DISBAND NYC AND HAVE EVERYONE LIVE IN CAVES IN PENNSYLVANIA.
WHEN YOUR GOVERNMENT REALIZED THAT THEY COULDN’T PROTECT CIVILIANS, THEY MADE PLANS TO SAVE THEMSELVES, LET YOU DIE, AND TRY TO REBUILD AFRESH. HUGE BUNKERS AT THE GREENBRIAR RESORT IN WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WEST VIRGINIA. MOUNT WEATHER IN BLUEMONT, BETWEEN HERE AND WINCHESTER. RAVEN ROCK JUST OVER THE MARYLAND BORDER IN PENNSYLVANIA– COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE ‘UNDERGROUND PENTAGON’. PLUS PLACES IN KANSAS AND COLORADO AND HIDDEN ALL OVER THE PLACE. THE BUNKERS ARE STOCKED WITH FOOD AND WATER AND PLANS… LOTS OF PLANS.
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES, THE CHOSEN FEW WILL GATHER THERE AND START WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH STACKS OF PRE-WRITTEN EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO SUSPEND THE CONSTITUTION, ROUND UP AND ARREST SO CALLED ‘SUBVERSIVES’. YOU KNOW, THE FREE THINKERS, AND THE BLACK PEOPLE AND THE BROWN PEOPLE. PRES. EISENHOWER SAID IN A CABINET MEETING: “THE PRICE OF SURVIVAL WILL BE A DICTATORSHIP.” THOUGH HE HIMSELF WONDERED IF HE WOULD EVEN WANT TO SURVIVE…
IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THESE DOOMSDAY DRILLS, THE QUESTION ARISES: WILL THEY RECONVENE CONGRESS, THAT MOST REPRESENTATIVE FORM OF GOVERNMENT?
OH, NO, AND HERE’S WHY: “IT’S A LOT EASIER WITHOUT THEM”
THEIR PLAN FOR THEMSELVES: EVACUATION, SALVATION, SURVIVAL, GREATER POWER.
THEIR PLAN FOR YOU: DEATH, MARTIAL LAW, SUBJUGATION. THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE!
THERE WAS A SUBTLE SHIFT IN LANGUAGE IN THOSE EARLY DAYS… THEY WENT FROM CALLING IT “NATIONAL DEFENSE” TO CALLING IT “NATIONAL SECURITY”. IE., THE US WOULD TAKE THE FIGHT TO THE WHOLE WORLD IN AN EFFORT TO PROTECT ITSELF. AND IF THAT DIDN’T WORK, THEN OH WELL, BECAUSE THAT SAME GOVERNMENT WILL PROTECT ITSELF WHILE THE REST OF YOU SUFFER.
IT’S ALL BEEN HAPPENING IN PLAIN SIGHT. HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THE ‘WATER TOWER’ NEAR FORT RENO IN NW DC? HOW ABOUT THE ONE OUTSIDE FREDERICK, MD ? AND ON THEY GO, EXACTLY 50 MILES APART, A NETWORK OF MICROWAVE TRANSMISSION TOWERS.
OFFICIALLY, THE GOVERNMENT WAS EXPRESSING DOUBTS ABOUT AT&T BEING A MONOPOLY.
UNOFFICIALLY, AT&T WAS BEING FUNDED BY YOUR EMPIRE TO SET UP AND MAINTAIN MULTIPLE COMMUNICATION NETWORKS! SECRET, PRIVATE NETWORKS FOR THE SO-CALLED GOVERNMENT
THAT SAME GOVERNMENT THAT FRETS AND WORRIES OVER OTHER GOVERNMENTS THAT MIGHT HAVE “WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION”, INCLUDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS. WHICH IS IRONIC, SINCE Y’ALL ARE THE ONLY NATION THAT HAS EVER USED A NUCLEAR WEAPON AGAINST AN ADVERSARY!!
SO PEOPLE, LISTEN TO ME:
“GOVERNMENT” OF THE US, LISTEN TO ME:
PRESIDENT OF THE US, LISTEN TO ME:
REPENT!! REPENT OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI!! UNTIL YOU DO, YOU’LL ONLY BE DRIVEN BY YOUR GUILT AND BY YOUR FEARS THAT SOME OTHER NATION-STATE WILL DO WHAT YOU’VE DONE– OR WORSE.
[LOOOOOONG, LONG DRINK OF WATER]
I’M ALWAYS A BIT SURPRISED WHEN I MAKE MY WAY INTO YOUR TOWNS ON SUNDAYS… ALL THE STORES, ALL THE ABUNDANCE.
GROCERY STORES, WHERE YOU BUY FOOD FOR YOURSELVES! AND RIGHT NEXT DOOR I SAW THAT Y’ALL HAVE A PET STORE. WHAT IN TARNATION? YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY TO FEED ANIMALS? HAVE ANY OF YOU LOOKED OUTSIDE AND SEEN A SQUIRREL? DOES ANYONE FEED THE SQUIRREL? (WELL I GUESS A BUNCH OF YOU HAVE BIRD FEEDERS, SO YOU CAN SIT OUT THIS LINE OF QUESTIONING). IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A PET, JUST FEED THE SQUIRRELS SOMETIME. BUT DON’T GET TOO ATTACHED; YOU’LL LIKELY BE EATING A LOT OF SQUIRREL, SOON ENOUGH.
[ TO ONE OF THE KIDS: CAN YOU SHOOT A SQUIRREL? YOU NEED TO GET ONE OF THESE ADULTS TO TEACH YOU!! ]
SO, BACK TO GROCERY STORES. WHERE Y’ALL CAN AVOID GROWING ANYTHING OR KILLING ANYTHING AND KEEP YOURSELVES ALIVE WITH YOUR MONEY. BUT HAVE YOU NOTICED WHAT HAPPENS IN THE WINTER, WHEN THE ROADS CLOSE? DO YOU REMEMBER? I MEAN, IT’S BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE IT SNOWED A LOT… YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, THE STORES ARE EMPTY. ONE OR TWO TRUCKS DOESN’T ARRIVE, AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY! SO ARE YOU READY?
I KNOW Y’ALL GOT YER FANCY DEGREES, BIG PIECES OF PARCHMENT PAPER ON THE WALLS, BUT YOU’RE NOT USING THEM!! YOU’VE GOT ALL OF THOSE PIECES OF PAPER ON THE WALL, BUT YOU’RE NOT EVEN READING THE *NEWS PAPER*. YOU SIT AT YOUR COMPUTERS ALL DAY, BUT YOU’RE NOT USING * THIS * COMPUTER (points to head).
THE SITUATION IS URGENT. THERE IS NO TIME. THERE ARE SIGNS OF THE TIMES, AND THERE IS WRITING ON THE WALL. IT’S ALL AROUND YOU, BUT YOU REFUSE TO SEE IT.
YOU’RE LIVING IN A BLAST ZONE! GOD’S JUDGEMENT IS COMING TO OPPRESSORS!
SO GRAB YOUR GUN. NOT FOR WAR, AND NOT TO RESIST YOUR GOVERNMENT– THAT WILL MAKE YOU WORSE THAN THEM. BUT YOU GRAB YOUR GUNS TO KILL SQUIRRELS, AND DEER. OR TO PRACTICE AT LEAST, FOR WHEN THAT’LL BE ALL YOU CAN EAT.
THE DAY OF THE LORD SOMETIMES TAKES A FEW WEEKS, OR EVEN YEARS.
BUT BE ASSURED OF THIS: THE DEEDS DONE IN DARKNESS WILL COME INTO THE LIGHT!! THIS IS THE WAY OF GOD, AND IT’S THE WAY GOD’S WORLD WORKS. ALL THE TIME, EVERY TIME.
I WAS READING ON THE INTERNET AT THE LIBRARY THIS MORNING: WOMEN WHO’VE BEEN LONG ABUSED BY POWERFUL MEN, WHO’VE BEEN SILENCED FOR MILLENIA, WHO ARE SUDDENLY SPEAKING OUT AND BEING BELIEVED.
BEHOLD, THE DAY OF THE LORD!! JUSTICE ROLLS LIKE A MIGHTY RIVER. IT ROLLS OVER THE PROUD AND THE POWERFUL, EVEN AS IT’S ROLLING UNDER AND LIFTING UP THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN OPPRESSED. JUSTICE IS DENIED, BUT NEVER FOREVER.
YOUR GOVERNMENT THINKS THAT THIS DAY OF RECKONING IS COMING, THAT IT’S INEVITABLE.
>>>>SO WHY DO YOU IGNORE IT?
YOU PEOPLE DEAL DAILY IN VIOLENCE, DOLING IT OUT AROUND THE WORLD, PRETENDING ALL THE WHILE THAT YOU’RE INNOCENT, THAT YOU’RE INVINCIBLE! PRETENDING ALL ALONG THAT NONE OF IT WILL COME DUE! THAT NONE OF IT WILL BLOW BACK ON YOU. NONE OF IT– WHY WOULD IT!?!?? SO CARRY ON, FULL SPEED AHEAD!!
AFTER THAT 9/11 YOU SPENT 5 MINUTES WONDERING WHO COULD BE SO PISSED AT YOU… YOUR PRESIDENT SAID “THEY HATE US FOR OUR FREEDOM” AND YOU CHEERED!
YOU SPENT 5 MINUTES WONDERING ABOUT THIS COMPLICATED QUESTION OF WHAT KIND OF MESS YOU’VE MADE IN THE WORLD, AND THEN YOU GOT RIGHT BACK TO BOMBING. EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM IN THE WORLD IS A NAIL THAT YOU NEED TO BEAT DOWN WITH A BIGGER HAMMER!!
WELL, KEEP GOING, I GUESS. SEE WHERE THAT LEADS YOU. YOUR GOVERNMENT KNOWS WHERE IT LEADS…
WELL UNDERMINE THEM— PULL THE PLUG ON THE WAR MACHINE!
DOES ANYONE HAVE A BIBLE?
( WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? YOU CALL YOURSELVES CHRISTIANS, FOLLOWERS OF JESUS, AND WHAT, THOSE BIBLES ARE TOO HEAVY? JESUS CARRIED A CROSS, AND YOU CAN’T LIFT A COUPLE OF POUNDS!!)
OR MAYBE YOU DON’T CARRY IT BECAUSE YOU HAVE IT MEMORIZED…
OH, I SUPPOSE YOU LOOK AT THE BIBLE ON THOSE TRACKING DEVICES YOU CARRY. THE BIBLE ON A TRACKING DEVICE! WELL WHAT’LL THEY THINK OF NEXT? FORTY YEARS AGO EVERYONE WAS SAYING, “WATCH OUT FOR WHEN THEY TRY TO GIVE YOU ‘THE MARK OF THE BEAST’!! ” AND EVERYONE PLEDGED THEY’D DIE BEFORE THEY DID SUCH A THING. BUT NOW YOU STAND IN LINE TO GET A FRESH VERSION OF THIS TRACKING DEVICE!
CAN ANYONE LOOK UP ISAIAH 40, AND 3? I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO READ IT IN HEBREW.
….WHERE IS MY BIBLE? (reaches into duffel bag, removes CANNED GOODS, HATCHET, UNDERWEAR, SOCKS, BIBLE)
Isaiah 40:3-5King James Version (KJV)
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(LET ME SHOW YOU HOW TO READ IT. SOUNDS MUCH BETTER IN KING JAMES…)
GOD’S HOLY HIGHWAY IS BETTER THAN ROUTE 66. THE VALLEYS ARE RAISED UP, AND THE HILLS ARE FLATTENED, AND THE CURVES ARE MADE STRAIGHT. JUSTICE IS A STRAIGHT SHOT TO THE HEART OF GOD, FRIENDS. “THE CROOKED SHALL BE MADE STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH PLACES MADE SMOOTH”
YOU GOTTA REPENT! THERE IS FORGIVENESS FOR SIN, BUT YOU GOTTA REPENT TO GET IT. CHANGE YOUR WAYS; CHANGE YOUR MINDS; CHANGE YOUR DIRECTION! GET ON BOARD WITH GOD, AND START ROLLING DOWN THAT HOLY HIGHWAY!
YOU GOTTA BEAR FRUITS OF REPENTANCE– IT NEEDS TO SHOW! NO MORE PRETENDING, OR FAKING IT, OR HOPING YOU’RE DOING JUST A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU, JUST GOOD ENOUGH TO AVOID ANYONE NOTICING.
LET GO OF YOUR RELIGIOUS ASSURANCES!!
— “MY PARENTS WERE CHRISTIANS!” “MY GRANDPARENTS!!”
WELL MY PARENTS WERE ROCKET SCIENTISTS. DOES THAT MAKE ME ONE?
–JESUS IS MY LORD AND SAVIOR!!”
SO WHAT? WHO CARES? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
TALK IS CHEAP, AND YOUR BELIEFS ARE EVEN CHEAPER!!
–YOU SAY, “I LOVE GOD!”
OKAY, MAYBE SO. WELL, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR GOD LATELY? SOMETHING THAT I CAN SEE, THAT EVERYONE CAN SEE!
FRIENDS, MARK MY WORDS:
JUDGEMENT IS COMING. WHICH SIDE WILL YOU BE ON? WHEN GOD’S JUSTICE ROLLS IN, WHICH SIDE OF THAT JUSTICE WILL YOU BE ON???
CON-CLUSION. (long drink of water)
DID YOU KNOW THAT, ON 9/11, THE FAMOUS FLIGHT 93 WAS 41 MINUTES LATE FOR TAKEOFF?? THAT’S THE FLIGHT THAT WAS HEADED TO DC, BUT WAS TAKEN DOWN BY SOME OF THE PASSENGERS (DON’T FOR A SECOND BELIEVE THOSE CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORIES THAT THE MILITARY SHOT IT DOWN!! THEY *WISH* THEY WOULD HAVE RESPONDED THAT QUICKLY!).
FORTY-ONE MINUTES. THAT’S THE TIME DIFFERENCE IT TOOK FOR THOSE PASSENGERS TO LEARN ABOUT THE OTHER PLANES TAKEN HOSTAGE, AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM!! WITHOUT THAT 41 MINUTES, THAT PLANE WOULD HAVE HIT A BIG TARGET IN DC (PROBABLY THE CAPITOL, THEN IN SESSION.. OR MAYBE THE WHITE HOUSE. OR MAYBE IT WOULD HAVE SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE. ) IT WOULD HAVE STRUCK AT THE VERY SAME TIME THE PLANE HIT THE PENTAGON.
Y’ALL KEEP GETTING LUCKY!! YOUR GOVERNMENT KEEPS GETTING LUCKY!! BUT YOU, ALL OF YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU HAVE SOWN. YOU WILL REAP THE WHIRLWIND! UNLESS YOU ARE ON THE SIDE OF GOD, THE SIDE OF PEACE AND PROTECTION OF THE INNOCENT.
COME OUT OF YOUR SHELTERS! QUIT HIDING FROM REALITY!! QUIT PRETENDING YOU’RE THE GOOD GUYS.
REPENT! CHANGE YOUR WAYS! TURN IT AROUND!! PURSUE PEACE, NOT WAR. SEEK JUSTICE. SEEK GOD!!
“PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD!!”
[Footnote: Many thanks to Garret Graff for his excellent, carefully researched historical overview of post-Cold War US policies and practices related to doomsday preparations by the government. His book Raven Rock is compelling, informative, and appropriately disturbing.]