Rev. Dr. Jim Dougherty
John the Bulldozer was a Sunday School leaflet for children a few years ago on the second Sunday of Advent. John prepared the way for a new road, a new school, or for a new house. His work of preparation was absolutely necessary.
It was like that before the coming of Jesus. God called a person named John to do the work of preparation. Read about him in our Gospel lesson today, Mark 1.1-8. His main message was “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” We call him John the Baptizer because he was in the wilderness near the Jordon River proclaiming a baptism of repentance. Many heard his call and changed their way of living.
John was a humble person who said that someone greater was coming. He added “I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.” He even said that the greater person (Jesus) would not baptize with water but with the Holy Spirit!
Look at our lives
John is calling for change. If we want our lives to be better, we have to change and do things differently. The word “repent” means “re-thinking.” It does not mean “remorse,” but taking a new attitude, a reassessment. Every time we pray, we need to listen for God’s call to take a new stance in our lives.
John was quite clear that our goal is not to follow him, but to follow Christ. Christ gives us the Holy Spirit to guide our lives in the days that are ahead. The one who is coming will call us to new paths of love and service. Christ is calling me. Listen! Follow! Take action!
Lord, help me see the changes in life that I need to make, and help me follow the justice, mercy and faith that Jesus taught. Amen.