Sermon Ideas For Luke 3:1-6 Part 6
After supplying the historical context consisting of the reigns of the various rulers of the day, Luke captures the moment of the sudden sounding of God's word and the advent of a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. In the silent womb of the wilderness, God's word pierces the silence.
The song, The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkle struck a nerve in the early years of the baby-boom generation. It is strange that this song should convey such a timely message in the midst of such a turbulent generation. This was a day filled with the commotion of wars and protests. Yet this song found a sure place in the hearts of the young of that day.
The song is addressed to the darkness that exists in a cityscape that has become a wilderness of silence. The essence of our humanity is the social aspect that exists to speak and be heard.
But in this song that aspect of our humanity serves a prison sentence under the harsh condition of silence.
This song urges consideration of the contemporary condition of alienation. What are the words we dare not speak to one another? What is the fear that blocks needed expression? Where are the zones of speechlessness in the church that lock frozen the impulse of speech?
In Paris, at the Louve Museum, there is a portrait of John the Baptist. It is attributed to the School of Leonardo and is painted upon a wood panel. John emerges from a dark background carrying a slender cross. The viewer is immediately struck by a "Mona-Lisa" smile on John's face. The smile, both knowing and concealing, summons the full humanity of this man who was first struck by the advent of God's new word. The eyes of the Baptist are intently focused on the viewer, inviting him or her to divine mystery. The light falls on the Baptist from the front, as if to bring him forward from the night.1
God has a word to speak. The word is both hidden and revealed in the face of the Baptist. Yet we sense that this word has sufficient power to draw out our full humanity from the shadows and to break the prison bars of our silence.
1. Marco Rosci, Leonardo (Danbury, CT: Master Works Press, 1984), p. 185.