For just a moment.
That you are John the Baptist.
You’ve been traveling all around. Spreading the news:
“Prepare the way of the Lord!” You’re traveling all around the
Jordan river area. This is the gateway of commerce, of government,
Of power. But you’re the one proclaiming a new way.
A new government. A new power. A new ruler.
And now you’ve found yourself in the wilderness. It figures.
People have always questioned you. It’s not strange for you to hear whispers
When you come and go. It is what you wear?
What else would you wear besides camel’s hair?
You’re a prophet, after all, not some rich emperor with access to the
World’s coffers. Maybe they whisper because of what you eat?
And you wonder if any of them have ever tried
Locusts and wild honey. It’s delicious. And really,
In the wilderness there aren’t a lot of other options.
You have been encouraging people to “prepare the way of the Lord”
For some time. But this world is a noisy place.
People more powerful than you. People more notable than you.
People maybe even considered more
Human than you fill the space with words that mean nothing.
You, John the Baptist, are surrounded by people that others listen to,
For some reason.
Yet. The word of God came to you.
But you are not John the Baptist.
You are you.
Yet. The word of God comes to you.
And what do you do with it? What do we do with it?
Proclaim the way of the Lord in the wilderness or ignore it?
Sorry. Wrong number. Or
Yes Lord, send me!
Decisions like these are never easy, clear cut, or without troubles.
What shall we do with a proclamation that makes no sense?
“Prepare the way of the Lord.” And how do we do that?
“Make his paths straight.” Lord! I don’t even know what path I’m on!
How can I make yours straight?
Valleys filled, hills made low, crooked made straight, and rough ways made smooth.
What does this all mean, Lord?
If you, God, come to me; and you always do, and I’m to deliver this message,
What does it mean? And why me? Why the wilderness?
God you are doing something surprising. You are always doing something
We are no different from John. We are surrounded by “somebodies” in this world.
But the word of God comes to us. Comes to me. Comes to you.
And this word proclaims that everything we know to be true will be
Flipped upside down.
Paths are supposed to wander. Valleys should be, well, valleys.
Hills should be high. Mountains should stand in grandeur.
Crooked and rough ways are that way for a reason.
But when we prepare the way of the Lord,
What we know to be true is no longer. And in the wilderness,
We may wonder, what else is no longer true?
None of this makes sense. And, perhaps Lord, that is the good news.
You, Lord, are making all things new. You continue to make all things new.
Including me. Including those I love. Including this hurting world.
If you make all things new, that means I may be granted another day,
Another hour, another minute, another moment to try and follow you.
The time between “Prepare the way of the Lord” and preparing your way with palm leaves
Shouting “hosanna in the highest” and escorting you to a cross seems to go
You are making all things new. But maybe I don’t want new.
I am comfortable where I am, with what I am, with how I am, and with who I am.
You make all things new.
This includes those who wish to do me harm. And those I wish harm upon.
Maybe I don’t want repentance, forgiveness, mercy, love, and grace to come into this world.
Newness is unfamiliar. Strange. A wilderness. But.
“All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” In a world where power matters,
Status matters, prestige matters, skin color matters, gender identity matters,
Bank accounts matter, education levels matter, legal status matters; you, Lord!
You make all things new in the promise of all flesh. ALL FLESH. Shall see the salvation of God.
A promise of redemption. A promise of saving. Saving us from this world. Saving us from death.
Saving us from ourselves.
We are the ones hollowing out valleys, building up hills and mountains, and
Making paths crooked and rough.
Even our best intentions are put to death in your birth and your death.
The word of God may soon come to us. To you. To me.
In a world that wants to label you a “nobody” God finds you to be a
Somebody. And the word comes to you. What will we do with it?
Prepare the way of the Lord!