3rd Sunday in Advent - Rugged Repentance

Preacher: Alan Cameron

Verses: Luke 3:7-20

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Occasionally I find myself driving, my mind elsewhere, keeping an eye on the road but heading in the wrong direction.  So, I turn around and head back the way I came.  In this regard psychologists speak of two kinds of attention: primary and secondary attention.  Primary attention is that which is at the forefront of our thoughts.  Secondary attention enables us to do familiar things whilst our thoughts are elsewhere. 

Both these things, changing direction and paying attention is what Advent is all about.  John the Baptist interrupts our meandering thoughts with the call to repent, to turn around.  His language is harsh and arresting.  “You bunch of snakes!”.  Hardly the greeting we place on Christmas cards!  “Who told you to flee from the coming wrath?”  What’s good news about that you may well ask.  John’s stern proclamation is good not because it is nice but because it is true.