And the crowds asked (John the Baptist), “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” ~ Luke 3:10-14
The people John the Baptist is talking to here are people who have come to him to be baptized. And right before this, he has called them a brood of vipers.
A brood of vipers!
Can you imagine a baptism at church where the pastor looked down at the baby and called him or her a little viper?
Where is the joy here?
And yet, still this crowd of people wanted him to baptize them. Still they wanted to know how to do better. And after this, some of them even wondered if he was the Messiah.
Is there joy when we are told to do better?
That we should do better.
That we CAN do better.
That we were created to be people who share and love and show compassion and tell the truth.
That when we do those things, we are living into our true selves.
We are beloved children of God. That's who we are. And so when we live like we know that - when we remember who we truly are - how can there help but be joy?
Generous and gracious God, open up the doors of joy and teach us to share it far and wide. Amen