Finding Our Way, wildly and warmly
The prophet reminds us to make a way for the Lord to enter our lives today.
Read: Mark 1:1-8
John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sinsMark 1:4 (CEB)
My heart sank when he burst into tears. I had frightened my son when I shouted at him, and moments later he had fallen to pieces.
My initial self-righteous justification of “he was in danger” collided with my agony at seeing his tears. I walked over to help him from where he was frozen—one foot and hand raised, prepared to climb a bookshelf. I was trying to ensure his physical safety, but his emotional sense of safety had already been compromised. My reaction had been wild, and not-at-all warm.
John issued a call to the people of Judea to change hearts and lives. Eccentric as he was, I always imagined this call to be — there’s no other word— wild. A wild cry from a wild prophet to a people in wild need of transformation. I imagine that a wild cry from John, no matter how well-intentioned, might have reduced some of us to tears in fear that we had done something gravely wrong.
Isaiah, the inspiration for John’s call, says this: “Comfort, comfort my people! says your God. Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid (Isaiah 40:1-2a).”
The call to transformation is loving and compassionate. Jerusalem has been through some things this season. Her nerves are shot and her heart is tender. Most of us can relate. Even with an urgent call, God’s messenger speaks words of comfort, knowing that transformation and healing are intertwined. The message is both WILD and WARM.
Prayer: Loving God, Comfort our hearts, calm our nerves, and whisper your invitation to loving-kindness. Remind us that our words can be a burden or a balm. As we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord, may our hearts and words be full of compassion. Let this season bring the assurance of being gathered into your loving arms. Amen.
Activity: Today, can you wrap your words in compassion? Can you send someone a message of comfort and encouragement?