Is God to be found at the disco? Thursday, 3rd week of Advent – Isaiah 54:1-10/Luke 7:24-30
The Gospel of today takes off from yesterday’s Gospel. The disciples of John the Baptist have departed to report to John what they have seen and heard about Jesus. Jesus now addresses the crowds. He turns John’s question, ‘who are you?’ on its head. Jesus now asks the crowd who or what did they think John was? Jesus does this in a series of rapid-fire questions, two of which are rhetorical.
Clearly, says Jesus, one does not go out into the Judean desert to see some prosperity preacher dressed in an Armani suit. Even more, they would not go out into the dessert to meet this ascetic prophet who could be swayed by political muscle like Herod the ruler. This was John the Baptist they went out to see, a man who wore his credentials on his sleeve and never had a hidden agenda. This was one clear thinking and straight talking man of God.
Clearly, John did not belong in a palace; that was not who he was nor was that his calling. So why, asks Jesus, would you want to hear otherwise from a man whose mission was not to pad up the immorality of Kings or the sins of commoners? When John preached, the message he preached was the same for all. God’s message does not change according to one’s social status or bank balance.
The point that Jesus is making is clear; what are your looking for? If you went looking for a king in the desert you are looking in the wrong place and if you went seeking John in a palace you would be wasting your time. If you want to truly get what you are looking for then where you look and what you look for is crucial.
Could God be found in a disco bar? I presume nothing is impossible for God but most likely your chances are slim considering that the primary purpose of a disco bar is not oriented to finding God. But it is not only where you are looking but also, who or what you are looking for? If we are seeking Jesus this Advent then we have to seek him in the solitude of our hearts and it is helpful if that solitude we seek is also matched by a place of solitude. I could pray while on the train or bus to work, but that should be my last resort and not the first and easiest option I make.