Most of the time we underestimate our importance and influence. We think that we just one of millions and so what we do our say will not have much effect on the world around us. Yet, the truth is that nothing stops God from making a difference through us.
This past Sunday was the second Sunday of Advent. A new liturgical year which means a new gospel to read from with new themes and new emphasis. This year the gospel we will hear from most will be The Gospel of Luke. One of the clear goals of the author of this gospel is to tell the story of how God had a plan in Jesus and how God put that plan into action. The Gospel of Luke, in telling this story, is the longest gospel of the four and it is also the only one that had a sequel, in the Book of Acts.
This past Sunday and this coming Sunday focus heavily on John the Baptist role as forerunner to Jesus. It may not be the staring role, but it would seem to be an important one, right? Yet, it is really important for us to realize that John was really on the fringes of the society. Neither he or Jesus were on the radar of the rich, famous or powerful. No one expected them to change the world or even make much of a difference. Except God, of course.
This is what Luke’s Gospel highlights, that God has a desire for the world and God will see it come to realization in and through anyone. In Luke chapter 3 verse 2, Luke tells us, “the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness.” He is telling his readers, us included, that the word of God comes to a nobody, living no where important. He tells us that God doesn’t need to work through the “powerful” people of culture and society. That God can work in the most normal of persons. Or even in the outsider (John was a little strange).
John has a role to play. He is not the star of the show, but he has a role to play. Which is, of course, part of the plan, Luke tells us. “All this was is part of the plan” and he quotes a passage from Isaiah about “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'”
Luke, like we who live post-ressurection, has the gift of looking back and seeing the significance of John’s role in God’s plan to reveal the Good News of Jesus to the world. Yet for us in our daily life, when we are in the middle of living, it is pretty much impossible to know if what we are doing or saying is playing a part of the God’s big picture. And still I think that Luke would agree with me in saying that just as God has a plan for the world, so God has a plan for you. We don’t need to be rich and famous to be important to God or God plan. John isn’t the star of the story but he plays an important part which God needed him to play and so do we.
I look forward to exploring that role and helping us to see that role as we read and reflect on more of Luke’s Gospel over the coming year.