Friday, December 21, 2012

An Invitation to a New Era

Our texts for this final Sunday in Advent are Zephaniah 3:14-20 and Luke 1:46-55, 67-79, which can be read here.

I've been dreading this day since the 9th grade.  I will never forget the day in my freshman World History Class when we watched a video about the Mayans and learned that their calendar very clearly predicted a day for the end of the world:  DECEMBER 21, 2012 flashed on the screen at the end of the video in ominous typeface.

Well, the so-called "Mayan Apocalypse" is here, and so, still, are we (though there are still 10 hours or so left in this day).  It turns out, though, that that scary video I watched in world history class, however, didn't necessarily speak truthfully about what the Mayan calendar really indicates about this particular moment in history.  Here's what I read about this day in an article on this week:

"Some believe the world is coming to an end Friday -- on 12/21/12 -- which is when an important phase on the ancient calendar of the Mayan people terminates. Mayans don't buy it. At least the ones living in the city of Merida, Mexico, don't. Neither does anyone in the Mayan village of Yaxuna. They know the calendar their ancestors left them is about to absolve a key phase -- the end of an era and the heralding of a new one -- but they don't think we're all gonna die."It's an era. We are lucky to see how it ends," said wood carver Santos Esteban in Yaxuna, a sleepy village of fewer than 700 Mayans...He feels it is a momentous occasion and is looking forward to the start of the new age. He is not afraid." (

If today is the end of an old era, and the beginning of a new one, then this week's scripture texts are actually perfect--because in beautiful lyrics, they herald the coming of a new age.  An age where oppression will cease, the proud will be knocked down and the humble lifted up; where God will raise up a savior for us and guide us in the way of peace; where God will personally be present in our midst, and God's people will fear oppression no more.

What if today did mark the beginning of a new era--an era where we begin to finally live into the words of Mary's song and of Zechariah's, of the prophet Zephaniah?  In our broken and battered world, I like the idea of today as a new beginning.  May we, like the Mayan woodcarver, not be afraid, but look forward and live into a new age.

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