A Harbinger of Peace

Thursday in the Second Week of Advent, Year B
10 December 2020

Reading: Mark 1: 1-8

Scripture: “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.” (Mark 1:2b)

Reflection: What a pacesetter was John the Baptizer! He was an enigmatic character who seemed not to care one iota what others thought of his mode of dress or diet. (Matthew 3:4) It is clear from all accounts, that so convinced was he of his vocation as a harbinger of the peace that would eventually result from the advent of God’s Messiah, he fearlessly, and without compromise, called everyone who could hear…all who were willing to listen, to repent in preparation for that coming.  

John was not merely a desert dweller, called as a herald of things to come; the context of his preaching was the dry, almost brittle condition of hearts grown cold. To be sure, John’s message was delivered to a nation whose godless way was in dire need of significant spiritual overhaul. Not only did they need to experience the symbolic washing in the waters of baptism, they would need to be totally immersed, individually and collectively, in the cleansing tide of God’s love, without which the liberation for which they longed…that would bring them in closer union with God, would continue to elude them.

In our own day, not too many seem prepared to go out on a limb for their faith. Political correctness and never ending desire to save face, so to speak, often replace a way of being that declares…Thus says the Lord! The truth is, if ever there was a time that the world…the Church needed a reincarnation of the spirit of John the Baptizer…that time is now! 

John’s fearlessness in proclaiming the coming Messiah was not born of a desire to see the wicked punished but to so challenge everyone that they would turn from their God-denying ways to experience the peace that comes with surrender to His will. It is such a disposition to which we – you and I – are being called in this time. Many have lost the love they had while others’ hearts have grown cold; there is a sense in which the space within every human being that is made for God’s indwelling (cf. St. Augustine) is cluttered with that which has no lasting value.

Your task and mine then, having heard and answered the call to be bearers of Good News, is to allow God’s Spirit to first of all dispel the dryness of our own lives, that we may joyfully and with zeal, share that which we have ourselves experienced. The peoples of our country and communities are like the bones in Ezekiel’s vision. (Ezekiel 37); and like them, we can live again…if we are prepared to experience the Spirit’s power to put new life into all things and make them whole and holy.

So, are you ready…are you prepared, even to be a lone voice? John’s disposition was one of determination born of confidence that if God called him to the task, God would enable him to accomplish it. Could God be issuing a similar call to you?

Meditation: “Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.”,(CPWI Hymnal #539)

Prayer: Lord, I want  to believe that if John experienced fear in answering Your call, he was able, ultimately, to surrender that to You. see me now in my fear-filled willingness and grant me a double portion of John’s spirit, that my words and life may tell forth the Good News…that You desire the entire world live in peace for Your name’s sake. Amen. 

St. Jude’s Church
Stony Hill

Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020
by The St. Jude’s Writers