Pause

Lay you down your burdens, all your fears
And I don't need your deepest secrets whispered in my ear
'Cause I can hear your heart

from “Hear Your Heart,” James Bay, 2015

At this moment, let your heart be open, because God can hear your heart.

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Listen

John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.

People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.”

Matthew 3:4-10

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Think

I have glared at this passage for hours trying to find “peace.” First, I tried to decide who am I? in this text. An angry John? A judgmental Pharisee? A criticizing Sadducee? Or just a stunned spectator wading in the water? Then, I began to notice characteristics of John. I am somewhat disgusted by his eating habits. As someone who loves fashion, I am appalled by his choice of clothing. Just do better, John!

It was from those criticisms that I realized it’s hard to find peace, not because of this passage but because of my constant judgement placed on the passage. My attitude made it easy to discriminate and demean John.

In his anger, John states, “Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives.” Peace becomes a fruit issued from our changed hearts. It is produced when we cease the judgement and embrace a Gospel that welcomes the differences of another. Repeatedly, it is hard to find peace because we may be the one suppressing the production of the fruit.

Timothy Peoples

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Pray

God of all things, sometimes my preconceived notions and biases get in the way. Lord, be in my eyes and in my heart so that your fruit may be produced in this world. Amen.

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Go

The Lord bless you and protect you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord lift up his face to you and grant you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Timothy Peoples

Timothy Peoples is a native of Jones, Oklahoma. He attended Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies. After graduating college, Tim began his formal training for ministry at Yale Divinity School. Currently, Tim is a Pastoral Resident at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

Advent Waiting: Still, Still, Still

David Burroughs

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