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Advent Meditations: Saturday, December 15By Anthony Baker
Psalm 30, 32, 42, 43 • Isaiah 8:1–15 • Luke 22:31–38
Something has changed in Luke 22. The storm that has been gathering is about to break. It is “the hour of darkness,” “the time of trial.” Where Jesus once told his followers to travel lightly and to depend on the hospitality of villagers, now he tells them to pack a bag and buy weapons.
Is Jesus contemplating running away? He seems to hesitate here on a shift in his path, consonant with the shift in the narrative. He toys with the appeal of an outlaw messianism. He and the disciples will roam the Judean wilderness ahead of the soldiers and temple police. Thrilling. And trying. Peter will fold. But he prays that Peter will return, and so give strength to others whose nerve teeters on the knife’s edge.
Luke reveals here that Advent is not ultimately about the coming of a baby, a sage, or even a cosmic friend. It is about the coming of divine and human courage, lived out in the life of a vulnerable man. Jesus sweats drops of blood, hoping to escape the terrible materializing presence of hate, of untruth, and of godlessness.
And in the end, the time of swords and packed bags and of the outlaw Jesus is brief. “Enough of this,” he says, and goes quietly. He gives up the dream of running from the storm, and walks directly into its center. This is how God comes into the world.
God, whose power is abundant and whose abundance is power, give us the courage to walk toward our fears, your Son at our side.
Dr. Anthony Baker
Clinton S. Quin Professor of Systematic Theology
Seminary of the Southwest
Listen to Anthony read his meditation and prayer:
Dr. Anthony Baker joined the seminary faculty in 2004. He teaches classes in both historical theology (focusing on a figure, an era, or a school of thought) and constructive theology (the building of persuasive arguments about God and creation). He is the author of Diagonal Advance: Perfection in Christian Theology as well as various articles in Modern Theology, Political Theology, The Journal of Anglican Studies, Anglican Theological Review, Heythrop Journal and other journals and collections. He is currently working on a book that explores theological themes in the works of Shakespeare. Professor Baker is editor-in-chief of the Anglican Theological Review, and he is the theologian-in-residence at Saint Julian’s Episcopal Church in north Austin, where he and his three children attend.
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