Sitting at table with some friends at the local, I overheard the couples on the next table debating the current state of affairs. It was not difficult to hear. Suddenly an irruption, “Once I would have been arrested for coming into this place with a face mask on, now I get arrested if I don’t wear one”.
Indeed … we have come to expect the unexpected!
Advent is galloping, “expect the unexpected”.
With all his knowledge of the history of prophets in Israel and even though he was languishing in jail, John the Baptist could not have imagined his final minutes. Beheaded in the middle of a banquet! Many thought that was the end of the story. His people had to learn to expect the unexpected when you are about God’s work.
Earlier the Prophet Baruch was trying to assist his people to “take off your dress of sorrow and distress” (a little like many leaders are asking of us today. …go out …make the retail registers ring). He asked his people to “wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you”. Not quite the message many wanted to hear. Rather they hoped to “get rid of the enemies, crush them, may our army triumph”!
But, the prophet insists, “Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.” Yet again, not quite the message expected!
And to emphasise the message, “for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort”.
We have had many calls during these two Sundays for integrity… not perhaps the message expected or hoped for by our civic or ecclesial community in the lead up to Christmas 2021…but, maybe, it is the real message for us.
but personal integrity will resolve many local and community questions quicker than Royal Commissions, judicial enquiries, and other forms of investigation. And cheaper too!
This Advent, this call is perhaps unexpected, but very appropriate.
We all need to be people of integrity.
People of integrity will certainly “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths and
enable people to see the salvation of our God.”