Wednesday-December 10, 2013

Wednesday-December 10, 2013; Mark 1:2-4

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Last weekend I went back to Staten Island to visit my sister and brother-in-law; I got there in the late afternoon, and spent a nice, quiet evening hanging out with them just catching up…it has been a while since we got a chance to spend some time together.

I went to sleep that night to the sound of the wind whipping around the windows, and marveling at how quiet it was on their street, something I was not accustomed to when I was living on Staten Island myself…

This quiet was shattered in the morning, when I woke up to the sound of pounding feet, squealing kids and laughter! My sister’s grandchildren had shown up, and the peace was broken, though it was truly a joyful noise!

Though often joyful, life with children can sometimes be noisy, frantic, scary and a little wild; precisely where today’s gospel calls upon us to prepare the way of the Lord!

For if we translate Mark’s Gospel just a little differently (as some scholars have suggested), by moving the colon, this call takes on a deeper meaning: “.the voice of one crying out: ‘In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’.”

As followers of Christ, we are not only called to be the voice, but we are also called to heed that voice by preparing the way of the Lord in all the wild places in our lives…

That preparation can start at home, as we teach our children how to follow Christ by treating themselves and other with compassion and with respect…and as we try to teach them to make good choices in their lives…choices that can help them stay on track, especially when they leave home and go out into the real ‘wilderness’ of the world, where they will be tempted by voices that sound more interesting and enticing than ours, voices which may lead them away from our teachings and into trouble.

The most scary thing about this is that many of these voices will mean well, wanting to help our children (however misguided); and we all know that temptation offered by a friendly face can very hard to turn away from.

Sometimes despite all of our efforts our children still lose their way…and this can make us feel very sad, not only because we love our children and hate to see them hurting, but also because as single parents we can feel all the more responsible for the choices our children have made in their lives.

However, even in this case, there is good news: as if we have done all we can to show our children the power of faith, the power of God’s love in our lives, and the importance of sharing out faith…then there is hope! For once a spark of faith is lit in our children’s lives it can become dormant, even lost in the midst of the wilderness of our world, but it can never be extinguished!

Although my parents raised me in a home filled with faith, and brought me up in the church, when I was a teenager I too went off track not just walking, but running away from my faith…and spent several years seeking meaning in my life…a search that sadly that ended up in a struggle with addiction that almost destroyed my life. Fortunately, the spark of faith given to me by my parents never left me, and it was this faith, ignited by memories of their teachings that helped me to stop my decent into the horrors of substance abuse, and reach out to God for help!

My parents prepared the way for the Lord in the wilderness that was to be my life, and it was this preparation that gave me a way out, and back to life!

Today, I am watching my daughter struggle with issues of her future, faith and addiction…unhappiness and fear…and it is heart-wrenching! Yet, there is hope for her, and for all of our children, as we are all called to prepare the way for Christ, even in the midst of our own wilderness, even when we feel discouraged, afraid and frustrated; because the way of the Lord is made clear wherever we make Christ known: in the midst of our homes, in the lives of our children, and out in the world…for where Christ is made known, the light of God’s love shines brightly!

Where this light shines, the darkness is banished, and the way of the Lord is made clear, right where we are…and in that light, there is hope, redemption, reconciliation, healing, and most of all: love!

It is this gift of love that has come to tame our wilderness and bring us close to making The Kingdom of God a reality, right here in our world, and our lives.

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, thank you for coming to us in the midst of our own wilderness…for giving us hope when we feel as if we are lost in the wild places of our lives. Please help us to make prepared your way in our often wild world, and in the lives of our children. Help to not be hard on ourselves when we or our children lose our way that wilderness, despite our best efforts…and have faith that your love will never leave us and that the spark of faith can never go out, but will once again led us home! During this time of Advent, please help us to make your way straight by shining the light of or faith into all the dark corners…especially those we may be afraid to look into too closely, remembering that we are part of that voice that cries out…and part of that light that shows the way…to the Kingdom of God!

Amen

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