Todays Gospel beginning with John the Baptist is not a surprise, for today is the day the Church remembers John the Baptist.
Mark in his Gospel writes of a messenger sent by God who will provide a way.
A voice in the wilderness that cries out.
But what does the voice cry?
“Prepare the way of the Lord”
We know this well. We can imagine John shouting “Prepare”, “Prepare for Jesus coming”
This is actually a quote from Isaiah but interestingly it is not an exact quote!
Isaiah speaks of A Voice
And what does that voice say?
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord”
Suddenly ‘In the wilderness’ is not the location of the one crying out,
‘the wilderness’ is the place where the preparation of the way happens.
How appropriate for this year that a place of isolation, a place where all is stripped bare and comforts are not present should be our focus in this year when the pandemic has given us a very different life.
In the wilderness, in the difficulty, often alone – this is where we prepare the way of the Lord.
But what is this way?
How should we be?
What does a follower, a disciple of the Way, look like?
It’s exactly the question our first reading asks in verse 11.
“What sort of persons ought you to be?”
Peters letter suggests Holy, living Godly lives… but what does that look like?
Well, John the Baptist how us some of those qualities…
Humility: He points to Jesus as ‘one more powerful’
Honesty: John doesn’t say what will please people, he speaks the truth
Hope: Offering a second chance, John is not afraid to speak out but his whole purpose in Baptising is that it gives people a second chance a sign of God’s forgiveness.
So for us as God’s people…
· Do we know our value and worth to God, yet hold that without arrogance?
· Are we able to be honest – with ourselves, with God and with others?
· Do we understand the power of God’s Grace that forgives and gives us all the chance of redemption?
Isaiah 40 that Mark quoted goes on to give us a vision of God.
A vision of God as...
· Strong and powerful
· Attentive like a shepherd tending a flock
· Gentle – carrying a lamb in his arms
The book of Isaiah is a place alongside great descriptions of God we also see that we are a reflection of who God is.
Isaiah describes God as a woman in Labour and a breastfeeding mother, as well as a Shepherd, King, and Saviour, then in Isaiah 49 we, human beings, are described as the place where God ‘will be glorified’.
As we wait this Advent, with expectation of Joy, of better things to come, let us wait with God and ask ourselves that question…
If we are disciples of Christ…
How should we be?