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“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Three Chords and The Truth
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They went out from Jerusalem — and from surrounding towns and villages — and from the region across the river. They seemed to come from everywhere. John the Baptist called them to repent, that is, to turn their lives around, to turn back to God.
John did not care how the people felt about it. He was not out there trying to make people feel better. He was trying to make them bebetter. “Bear fruit worthy of repentance,” he yelled.
And what about you? Why do you come to worship? The church is not the mall, or the sports stadium. Taking time to come into a place where you are called to things like confession and repentance is increasingly heading out of town, into a wilderness not embraced by the culture that searches for meaning in other places.
And yet, there you are in worship, confessing and repenting and open to a Word from the Lord.
Even as John wagged his finger and preached, about getting ready, about getting real, there was one making his way through the outer edges of the great crowds as he made his way down into the river…
The crowds gathered along the riverbanks included powerful religious elites and beggars and criminals and shepherds and land owners, children of Abraham and gentiles. Women and men.
All of these distinctions mattered. In fact, they defined the world for those people and there was nothing that John the Baptist could do about all that. John was there to prepare the way.
But when John looked up to see who was next in line to be baptized, the one standing in front of him made his knees buckle. It was time.
Questions to Ponder or Discuss
1. How do you think John the Baptist would be received today? Would crowds gather or would he be ignored?
2. Why does the church insist on contemplating the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry on the second Sunday of Advent when you can even hear songs about the babe in a manger while out shopping?
Prepare the way! That was John’s message. So let’s pay special attention to how we are preparing to celebrate our Lord’s birth this year. What should we be doing to get ready?
See you in church!