Wild and lone the prophet’s voice echoes through the desert still, calling us to make a choice, biding us to do God’s will. “Turn from sin and be baptized; cleanse your heart and mind and soul. Quitting all the sins you prized, yield your life to God’s control.”
On the second Sunday in Advent, John the Baptist enters the scene. Although his connection to Christ is much older than when they meet as adults in the Gospel of Luke, the other Gospels do not state the same. However they came to know each other, one thing is certain: this is the one who prepares the way for the One who is coming.
Over the years, many scholars and worship leaders have debated the actual statements of the historical Jesus. Though there are many opinions, there was only one proclamation on which they could agree: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
This is also the message of the Baptizer as he turns the lost and longing sheep back towards God’s providence. It is not a statement of overwhelming comfort that comes from his lips, but it does set the tone for Christ’s own ministry. This Messiah is not coming in political, economic, or worldly power. This One who is coming, comes to challenge the world in a different and more enveloping way.
This hymn, and John the Baptist, remind us what it means to turn back (literal translation of “repent”) to God: Bear the fruit repentance sows: lives of justice, truth and love.” It is not enough to merely speak the words. We are called to welcome Christ’s presence into ourselves in such a way that our whole lives will reflect God’s purpose.
So consider this day how you will repent – with lip-service or by taking part in Christ’s ministry? And never forget John’s lesson: With such preaching, stark and bold, John proclaimed salvation near, and his timeless warnings hold words of hope to all who hear. So we dare to journey on, led by faith through ways untrod, till we come at last like John to behold the Lamb of God.
Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice (same tune as “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”)
Reverse Advent Calendar: Sometimes those who need our love are right beside us. Visit your neighbors, especially those who may be homebound, and offer them some good conversation and company during this season. Many of them will also have stories that are worth a listen.