"As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
'See, I am sending my messenger
ahead of you,
Who will prepare your way ...' "
Mark 1: 2
Reflecting on the text
Who are God's messengers today? What are God's messages today?
Why are the prophets so important to the story of Jesus Christ?
Who has prepared your way, going ahead to make a path?
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If there were ever a time that needed a "God's messenger" like John the Baptist, it is now. The Bible is full of warnings from the Prophets about the dangers of tribal politics. My favorite is Amos. He makes one trip to warn the Israelites, is admonished, and then returns home.
While I struggle to see God's messengers today, I do sincerely believe that one is coming. We see an explosion of writers who are setting the stage for yet another Christian reformation in this century. I personally think that Martin Luther and John Calvin were John the Baptist for their times. Our time waits for ours. Meanwhile, we have to keep the faith right here and prepare the way of the Lord.
Preparing the way of the Lord is not getting any easier. We live in troubled times. Politics has invaded religion. Despite warnings from prophets like Amos, we are tempted to use the Bible to cite words that support our own tribe's cause. If events continue like they are now, our churches may come to label themselves as part of a partisan tribe. I will admit I am a member of the more liberal tribe. I spent my career working in an investment department where I was only one of two "liberals." I made the mistake once of ridiculing fundamentalist Christians, not knowing that one of my coworkers who ranked higher than me, whom I respected very much, (and who also was a primary supporter of promoting my career!) was a member of a fundamentalist sect. After that we talked and talked and talked. The discussions were not easy. But each of us listened and adapted. He left the company a few years later and I miss him. Perhaps he was a messenger?
How might we all get to a point of listening and adapting? I have no clue except to know it has to happen somehow in God's Kingdom in our churches. It takes perseverance, faith, hope, and love. I am reminded of a refrain from a Bruce Springsteen song "Into the Fire" about someone who does not stay home and jumps into the fire. I interpreted it in a religious context. It has become one of my prayers for the body of Christ.
May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love