Day 7 — For Fuck’s Sake (John 1:21)
And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”
We are always looking for the next sign.
And we always ignore the signposts.
The Bible, to me, is fundamentally a story of humanity ignoring God, and God somehow not abandoning us in spite of it. By all rights, He should have, back in the dusty pages of the Old Testament, with its seemingly arbitrary rules of worship, conduct, food preparation, and ritual cleansing.
I’ve never had much luck with the Old Testament, because, in my mind, it tends to show a fickle, capricious Creator that has little tolerance for us after we abandon Him in the very Garden of Eden.
That is not my God.
My God is the radical, dark-skinned, rabble-rousing Jewish carpenter who somehow saves us from ourselves.
And boy, does He give us signs — just not the ones we are comfortable looking for.
We’re obsessed with validation, with rational explanations, with our own failings. We claim to serve Jesus and embody His radical grace. Yet we fawn over the Law and the institutions and highlight Scripture passages in search of certainty.
We question our very own God because He can’t really be God if he doesn’t fit the expectations we have so carefully crafted and worshiped in his place.
It is our nature to place literal meaning where we should seek spirtual meaning.
Elijah came, yet in their obsessive search for signs of him, they didn’t KNOW him. Jesus had to reveal to His disciples how they were searching with false eyes.
Yet they also did not understand Jesus when He came, looking for signs and missing spiritual wonders. As it says in Isaiah 53:3:
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
We can no longer blame anyone else but ourselves for failing to be Jesus in the lives of others. We can no longer abdicate responsibility for our shared humanity, and the atrocities we commit in the name of certainty and institutional orthodoxy.
In this Advent season, we await the return of a Christ that never truly left.
His name is Immanuel. God is with us.
Our mission is to experience our own Advent, our own second coming, our own new birth, and our own resurrection.
Seek Him in the margins, in the silence. But don’t leave Him there. Find Him in the soup kitchens, in the homeless shelters, in the young brown bodies mowed down by violence, in the cry of newborn babies — He is in all of those places, just waiting for you to realize that we are ALL Elijah. We are ALL Jesus.
When you see an immigrant walking down the street and subconsciously think “they should go back where they came from” — you are abandoning Jesus and casting Him off.
When you think that black and brown bodies are automatically forfeit if white people with big guns fear them — you are killing Jesus all over again.
When you buy brand new designer clothes while wishing “all the homeless people would just get jobs already”, you are denying His love and radical grace for all.
For fuck’s sake — what God would want to admit He’s the prophet of people who act like THAT?
Shockingly, He claims us anyway, and offers Himself freely in spite of our deep and horrible failings. He knows we can do better, with His help.
It’s not enough to sit in an air-conditioned church, sing songs with people who look exactly like you, and consider yourself saved because you put $5.00 in a collection plate.
Fuck that shit.
This Advent season, remember that you are just one heartbeat and one paycheck away from being the people you have no right to despise. In order to know Christ, you have to BE Christ to those you meet.
As the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America explains:
Christians are a people who seek reconciliation with one another. Making peace is a daily action in our lives. We do not need to wait to come to church on Sunday morning in order to make peace with our neighbors and our family members. Sharing God’s peace is a daily opportunity.