“In the Fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontus Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his program Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysania ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sine, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
I believe that life lived on earth is to be a mirror of the life mentioned to be lived in heaven. This weeks passages are about right living, and living into the coming of the Kingdom and preparing the way of the Lord. Something that is impossible without turning away from practices that detract from the shaping of the new kingdom Jesus taught.
For me, I am not so much concerned with what happens after life, but more about what is to take place now. Preparing the way of the Lord is about moving in a forward motion, living in demonstration the way the world should be, and not the way it is.
The advent period, like lent, is one of anticipation and even somber. We are reminded of ways in which we have failed to bring forward the kingdom of God, without a focus on what is to come. But we are not to lose hope. This is a time when we recall the humanity of the Christ who felt betrayal, hunger, loneliness, doubt, grief, anger. However, we do not ever see a time when his response was not one of compassion, love and in a spirit that would demonstrate what it looks like to be human in all of those instances. Selfishness, greed, narcissism have no place in the kingdom Jesus discussed or in the way of preparation John was preaching.
Our attitudes can indeed be the same as Jesus Christ in humility, compassion and care. We can be an example of what it looks like to welcome refugees and insure they have the ability to practice their faith safely. We are to not take part in economic injustice and our voting, purchasing, eating, driving, should not be done looking only at our own interest, but also that interests of others. Preparing the way of the Lord is taking action and living in a manner that is reflective of Christ’s presence.