The gospel writer consciously echoes many of the themes of 1 Samuel to drive home the point that Luke is going to tell the story of God setting up a new anointed leader, not David this time, but Jesus.
In this time of year in which we ponder Jesus’ incarnation and what it means for the Word to be made flesh, let us reflect on the words of the prophets Micah and Mary who tell us what it means for a human to fulfill the will of God.
This advent, as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, let us look to John the Baptizer again for his fearless incitement to repentance of evil and abusive behavior. But let us also look to those who questioned their roles in an abusive system and bravely risked their lives to seek, and find, a better way to be faithful to the God who calls us all to live without fear.
This Advent, let’s not settle for a sentimental Christmas season, but actively work to open ourselves up to Jesus’ refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap to burn and to scrub abuse and mistreatment from our lives and our societies.
Jesus did not come neatly at the beginning of human history. Nor does he only come at the end. He came to proclaim that “God IS with us” right where we are, right in the midst of all the difficulties, uncertainty, danger, intrigue and woe. Advent is not supposed to be a time of joy, but a time of introspection and purposeful waiting and preparing for the coming of the one who will lead us in justice and righteousness.
Jesus’ Kingdom is not from this world (John 18:36) but at the same time, it is already present (Matt 3:2, 4:17). We must keep these two truths in front of us, both this week, and always.
The semi-continuous lectionary continues with the message about how the Kingdom of God continually overthrows the strong, mighty and impressive in favor of the weak, downcast and embarrassing. Hannah’s song and Jesus’ brief reflection on the temple’s impermanence show that earthly greatness counts for very little in God’s sight.
Not only do loud, showy bragging and demands for respect not impress God, but these words and actions lead directly to great condemnation (Mark 12:40). If one is rich, the right path is to emulate Boaz, who associated with the lowly, gave up the right to live in a bubble of wealth, and welcomed the poor, Israelite and foreigner alike. He celebrated when others made claims of his responsibility to provide for them.