2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A
3-6 year olds
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
John the Baptist is a cousin of Jesus. He prepares the people of Israel for Jesus who is coming--coming to speak about the Kingdom of God in a way no one had ever spoken before. In Advent, we hear about John the Baptist preparing the people when we are also preparing--preparing to celebrate the feast of the light of God coming into the world.
What does repent mean?
John the Baptist says,
Repent means to turn around. Why does John the Baptist want us to turn around?
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of God, has come near. If we turn around, will we see the Kingdom of God?
Turn around. What do you see? Do you see the kingdom of God?
If the Kingdom of God has come near, why can we not see it? The Kingdom of God seems to be hidden. Perhaps we need to know what we are looking for.
Jesus tells a lot of parables--stories--about the Kingdom of God so that we would know it when we see it. Here is one parable:
When someone makes bread, or pizza dough, they put yeast in water. Yeast is a living thing--it is teeny tiny--and it gets mixed into all that flour to make dough. Have you ever done this? It might be something to try.
The dough is set aside to rest. If we look at the dough, we cannot see the yeast. It is hidden, like the Kingdom of God. Even if we repent, if we turn around, we cannot see the yeast.
But deep inside the dough, what is happening? The yeast is busy growing. It makes gas, and the gas expands, and the dough rises. It gets bigger and bigger! And then the dough gets baked into something delicious to eat, something that can feed us.
Does the Kingdom of God--the hidden kingdom--grow and grow all around us, making something so special, something that can feed us? This week in our prayer, let's ask God about this.
And we can also ask, why has the Kingdom of God come near to us? Why does God want to be near to us? Near to me? Near to you?
The Kingdom of God might be hidden, but God wants to be found, I think. Why else would John the Baptist say, "Repent! Turn around!"?