In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” ........But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance.
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The famous words of a naval commander, "We have met the enemy and they are ours!" were twisted into a greater truth by a cartoonist who said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." John's task was to prepare the playing field for the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We prepare a playing field very often by leveling the places that need to be leveled. Makes sense as metaphors go. But we are talking about more than a metaphor these days. We are not playing a game. We are in conflict with each other. If we can even begin to do the things that make for peace, we must find common ground. There is nothing like a common enemy to help focus our preparations. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us. We are sinners called to repent. Our sin is producing more sin. The evidence of a sincerely changed life is one which bears fruit - not more sin but good things, life-affirming things. What do we leave in our wake? Make no mistake. There are no spectators in this battle. The enemy is us. The first rule of engagement is repent and bear fruit worthy of repentance. Today. Start today.
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We have sinned against you, Lord, in thought, word and deed. Amen.