Truth is a Person

In Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens characters Rey, Finn, and the droid, BB-8 are on board the spaceship Millennium Falcon. The Falcon has had many owners, but its most famous pilot is the arms trader and renegade smuggler, Han Solo. This time, however, the tables are turned as Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are the ones who stole (for the greater good) the Millennium Falcon. All these characters clash aboard the Falcon as pleasantries are skipped and survival instincts take charge. The Falcon is being chased by other illegal arms dealers and ships from the remnants of the evil galactic empire now called the First Order. The characters buy themselves some time with the Falcon warping into light speed, outmaneuvering their pursuers. Once they find themselves cruising to a safe planet occupied by the resistance, Rey discovers that Han Solo is THE Han Solo and the rightful owner of the ship she just stole. Solo is also the one who once knew THE One – Luke Skywalker, of the order of the chosen Jedi warrior class. Upon this revelation, Rey asks a poignant question with awe resonating in her voice, “The Jedi were real?”
With a boyish grin that quickly turns into a serene seriousness dripping with mysticism, Solo replies, “I used to wonder about that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. A magical power holding together good and evil, the dark side and the light. Crazy thing is… it’s true. The Force, the Jedi. All of it. It’s all true.”
The beginning of The Gospel of Mark takes into consideration Rey’s question of reality. Like Han Solo, the Gospel names personified Truth as the reality. The whole of the St. Mark text then expounds on the answer, not through logic and reasoning, but with a reckoning and a realization that God is just crazy enough to reach out and deliver the truth to us in person. Today’s Advent story is a story of God coming out to meet us (and even greet us) in the wilderness that is our lives. Even though this meeting place initially begins in the wilderness, it will finally find its culmination in a garden. The garden, this side of heaven, looks a lot like Gethsemane – wrought with worry and weeds – while the heavenly garden on the other side is like Eden. Here, we will find ourselves walking with Truth incarnate. God will walk alongside us in the cool of the evening. John the Baptist is that Advent voice crying out to us in the disruptions of our lives. He boldly orders us to repent and wash up. These preparatory acts make us ready to receive the Truth that is coming. It’s the Truth we’re not worthy enough to find, so that same Truth comes out finding us.
2020 has been a year full of disruption, disorientation, disillusions, and disorder. Institutions, as well as individuals, have all walked blindly into the wilderness together. In many respects, 2020 has been one long season of Advent. We’ve been collectively watching and waiting for some sense of normalcy for over nine months now. Thank God for John the Baptist’s voice today. He seems to be the only voice of reason in the world, a voice calling us all to repentance. John’s not interested in preaching repentance to make his listeners feel guilty. No, he’s preaching penance because it leads to forgiveness, which lightens the load. A softer cargo always helps when one backpacks through the wilderness of disruption.
We’ve all had to examine our packs this year, and not always because we wanted to, but because we had to. If these examinations led to repentance, you’ve more than likely left a few things behind on purpose. You’ve discarded some stuff. You’ve now named what is essential and what needs to be let go. You’ve repented. Like John, you pray that the world does the same, not to judge or make someone feel guilty, but because forgiveness (you’ve discovered) is not only something you do but is an attitude we have.
2020 has put truth on trial. If you’re like me, you’ve taken a look at the state of society this year and have wondered out loud, “What in the world is going on?” If this painfully confusing, disorienting year has taught me anything, it’s that the world needs Truth incarnate now more than ever. The world needs God. The world needs Christ. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He’s the reformer. He’s the healer. He’s the Savior who comes to us. Like John, we must be bold in these proclamations, not only with our lips but in our lives. So much of the world believes these faith statements are a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but honestly, I don’t want to be anywhere near the alternative. What I do know by faith is that it is all true—all of it. Truth has come into the wilderness of our lives, lightened our burdens, inviting us to follow Him. If you haven’t already, now is the time to allow yourself to be found (and found out) by Truth.

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