When children die, when children are murdered by police, it can be difficult to believe that our words and actions are those that God called us, because where is God in this?
This is where the reminder from the prophet is needed the most. In this horror. In this moment that feels impossible to get through. Our cause is with YHWH. Our reward – that thing we’ve been hoping for. That joy we’ve been seeking. That sense of home we’ve missed – God is in that and has been with us since we were formed.
I believe that that covenant was based on being in relationship with the Divine and with their community. Something that the Hebrew prophets often proclaimed to the people and to their leaders. That they belonged to this covenant and to the community of God. And it’s that covenant that John and his baptism were calling people to, in preparation for the coming (and now) community or kin-dom of God.
It feels very Advent-y to me, this chaos and sorrow, joy and hope all mixed together.
As we prepare for the birth of this God in our lives, we are invited to turn away from an orientation on strength, prestige, social recognition and might. If we don’t, we might find ourselves with the religious leaders whom John rebukes. We might find ourselves on the side of the Empire who crucifies Jesus.