Today is the first Sunday in Advent 2009. Today we begin the four-week journey to the stable to experience the Newborn King. We lit the first candle of the wreath to give light to Prepare by.
Malachi, Isaiah and Mark tell of the Voice in the Desert. We looked at this during worship at Faith today.
Just one voice. One odd man with strange clothes and wild hair. Yet he cried out to any and all who came within ear shot. He was sent by God to use his one voice to serve the coming King. The time had come.
We, too, must raise our voice. We must give voice to the silent cries of the unborn, the moans of the uninsured, the exploited worker, the widow, orphan, imprisoned. We must call out for justice and equity. We may have only one voice, but it must be raised. John, the Voice, cried out against personal and social evil. He cried out against even the king when his lifestyle violated God's word.
People need to know the King approaches and we will all stand before Him. How can they call on one of whom they have never heard? Who have you told lately?
...in the desert...
Why a desert? Why the wild? Why not Rome or at least Jerusalem? What was God thinking?
Perhaps God sent the Voice to the desert to announce the coming of His Son because most of the time, most of us live in dry barrenness. It is in the dry weary landscape that we sense our need of a Savior. At the end of the advertisements and entisements there is a desert of disappointment. Are you dry? Are you parched? Are you cracked from overexposure to the bright light of the "Good Life?" The Voice calls out in the desert.
Get ready. Get ready. Get ready. In the movie The Untouchables, Sean Connery's character constantly asks, "What are you prepared to do?" We would like to be ready when company comes to visit. We would like to be ready for financial emergencies? We would like to be ready for the test. But what are we preparing for? Wishing is not the same as preparing.
How do you prepare for the coming of the King? John, the Voice, was asked this. He replied, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay." (Luke 3.11-14) Repent of wrong behaviors. Start new pattern of relating to others.
Smooth out roughed up relationships. Straighten out crooked dealings. Raise the level of thanks and contentment. Lower self-interest. Live a life that welcomes the King.
...the way for the Lord...
Does this passage really imply that my life makes a way for the Lord to come to others? In several places the NT expressly tells us our living either makes the claims of Christ more credible or discredits them. Stepping stones or stumbling blocks. Our life lived in readiness for the Coming One, invites others to join in the preparation.
What a shame that we all too often have so much Christmas we don't have any Christ. We are preparing this Advent for the LORD!
Ready or not, here He comes!