December 15, 2013 by lellielieb
LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
This is The Collect for the third Sunday in Advent. The scripture to follow includes a passage from I Corinthians 4 and this familiar verse: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
I don’t think I have ever thought of myself and my fellow Christians as playing a role similar to that of John the Baptist, but it makes perfect sense to me after reading the scripture for this day. My literary side thrills to the words “stewards of thy mysteries” from The Collect. The practical side of me, the realistic side, shakes in its boots. This is a fearful and awesome responsibility.
Also included in the reading is the story of the talents from Matthew 25. I am afraid that I have always identified more with the servant who hid the talent in the ground. After all, that way he was sure not to lose it. I struggle a lot with fear. I struggle also with trust. I don’t like taking risks and I find it hard to follow Jesus into the dark places, and yet, I have always admired John. I love his heart. I love his words, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This seems like a conundrum. John, obviously, is humble, and at first glance it seems an act of humility to hide the money in the ground, not to presume to be able to multiply it. Why is John considered faithful and the servant judged faithless? The problem, I think, it self-focus. John was focused on Jesus. The servant who hid the talent was focused on himself. John said, “He can.” The unworthy servant said, “I can’t.” This week I want to be faithful. I want to say, “He can.”