The Pastor’s Pen

December 1, 2016

“John the Baptist said, 'I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord.' as Isaiah the prophet said.'" John I:23

         Taking the Christmas boxes out of the Parsonage attic is risky business. It’s easy to imagine how much more perilous it must have been to descend the narrow, winding stairs wearing a floor-length cotton dress while holding a candlestick 150 years ago. Nevertheless, I take my time, handing off boxes to my partner who spots me, shouting out warning whenever my step comes perilously close to the edge.

         John the Baptizer was just such a spotter as this, for just such a time as now. We may think the ancient Bible stories have little wisdom for our current concerns. Think again. How sorely we need prophetic voices willing to speak unvarnished truth without spin or personal agenda. It’s interesting that John trusts people to respond when the warning bell rings. “Prepare the way of the Lord. Repent of whatever you’re doing that get’s in the way of receiving God in your life. Change directions if you’re on a crash course with your own highest and best life. It’s not too late to stop what you’re doing if it isn’t bringing peace and goodwill to all people. “ No doubt some folks rolled their eyes when they heard him coming: “Oh my goodness, here comes that hairy man John, shouting out warning, again!”        

We need spotters in such a time as this, brave people who scan the landscape, sounding the alarm when necessary to prevent otherwise inevitable catastrophe. It’s not always clear to us at first what is true. How do we sort out truth from fiction before acting on information we receive? Where can we turn for reliable witness?

Thank God it’s Advent! We celebrate the coming of the Way, the Truth and the Life. We anticipate the Light shining in the darkness knowing that the darkness cannot overcome it. And by paying close attention to the spotters, God might even guide our faltering steps through this wilderness, as God promises.

Prayer: We thank you God: “who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present us before your glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to you the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

From Jude 24-25 New International Version

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland