“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
Everything about John was weird. Like the Prophets of the Old Testament, he’s very being was to shock and upend God’s people. He came out of the wilderness; journeying with sandaled feet, uncomfortable camel’s hair clothing and proclaiming words that while sounding familiar were not words of comfort. To ‘prepare the way of the Lord,’ was not a command to offer reassurance or calm. No, he needed to grab their attention. Things had to change, and sometimes more than words needed to be said. John the Baptist came out of the wilderness forged by God to speak as a messenger. And began his ministry of baptizing as a sign of God forgiving their sins and teaching the good news. He pointed to the Lamb of God soon to also journey into his path. Was the way ready?
Lord God, may we too heed the words of John and confess that which separates us from your love. May we be jolted from our comfort and calm to truly journey with you. As the Holy Spirit moves us in the rush of a mighty wind, so we go. Amen.