Lectionary reflection: Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist would not have been a very good bell-ringer.

We see them this time of year. Men and women standing next to red kettles, ringing bells, and smiling. They wait for us and give a friendly nod or offer a word when we slide a coin or a folded bill through the slot on their bucket.

This is not John the Baptist’s way. He would have been a lousy bell ringer. He would have been going up to people and grabbing by the collar and shouting all kinds of rude things at them. “You generation of vipers!”

It seems that God’s people in the Bible are not nearly so good at standing around and being inoffensive and passive as we are. God’s people in the Bible tended to go where they were not welcome, say what no one wanted said, and not show up when people wanted them to come.

Not your typical bell ringers.