We are entering the second week of our Advent Journey. I cannot tell you how often I’ve wondered if a voice can really make a difference. Whether or not my speaking and standing for justice will make a difference. As a preacher the voice is a key tool to speaking a message a word for those who have none. The right words spoken at the right time can have the power to change our world.
As I think of the voice of one I am reminded and encouraged that it is the power of the Divine Word spoken that actually brought us into being, and that there is power in the Word. This word or voice in the desert brings us to todays passage from the beginning of the Gospel of Mark,
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
The voice that we are hearing from is one who is sent, a messenger. The word spoken is not the messengers word, however his voice is needed to deliver the message. He is actually speaking on behalf of someone and that someone is the Lord. So we here today the prophetic voice crying out in the desert for the hearers to do something, namely to “prepare a way for the Lord.” There is urgency in the messengers voice as he delivers this message. This is the voice of the prophet John, calling forth a need for action to get ready because something is about to happen, and someone is going to come onto the scene.
As we continue in our Advent journey the message is not one of that speaks to the nativity, but rather it speaks to what Jesus coming is really all about, embarking upon a new age, a new era namely the Kingdom of God. When we started our journey this year I spoke of us being called to active waiting and engaging in preparation for not only the celebration of Christmas, but for God to break through in a special way actively involved in the transformation of our lives and of our world. The prophetic voice had be silenced for a few hundred years, and what the people had was the readings from to Torah and the prophets, but in this proclamation something new is happening and entering upon them. A voice in the wilderness calling for the straightening of paths and preparing a highway for our God.
A key element of our actively watching and waiting is that we are also called to be the voice that cries out in the desert. The desert of our communities, cities, nation and world. There are so many who need to hear a word that can speak to them and possibly for them. We’ve seen over this past year so many voices crying out from marches and peaceful protests to violent outburst. But in all of this voices are crying out. Although we are seeing a response, the work in the desert is only just beginning. Those on the peripheries are more disenfranchised and the margins grow wider. From the pandemic that is taking an even greater toll on our nation and our world. The violence that has erupted in our streets, but we’ve heard no out cry. As it is said “crickets” after three people have died to violence and seven injured on the Southside of St. Petersburg. Their lives matter too! There needs to be a voice and outcry for this violence to stop.
We must be prophetic. The harm and death to our own young people is unacceptable and we must be outraged at the violence as innocent lives are lost. Like John the Baptist it is time for us to straighten out the crooked ways and prepare a highway for peace and understanding. A new way of being a relating that is not violent, an appreciation and value of all our lives, that as we marched and shouted that Black Lives Matter, well these lives matter too.
Let’s not only be a voice in the desert but let us be a path for peace for our people. Many voices raised can be a source of strength, as we stand together for justice and peace. Let this Advent be your time of taking your place to becoming a voice crying out in the desert for the good of all.
Let’s continue on the journey with Jesus!