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  • Writer's picturePhil




“Prepare the way of the Lord!

Make a straight road for him!”

Matthew 3:3 "The time is coming, they tell me:the day of the Lord’s return,when we shall stand before him

and he will separate the sheep from the goats,the wicked from the righteous.So forget about the present,

think instead of the future,for that’s what matters – our final destiny,

the life to come – nothing else.

Well, I’m sorry, but have I missed something?For that’s not the way I heard it,not what I thought Jesus was saying at all."Keep alert", he warned, certainly,for the day will dawn as God has promised,but when that will be we’ve no idea;today, tomorrow or far beyond – who can say?It’s not the ‘when’ of his coming that should concern us,but the fact that he will,

and the difference that makes,not to the future, but to the here and now,to the way we live every moment of every day.

We’ve a job to be doing,a broken world out there needing to hear his word, and know his love and that’s what will concern him when he comes; not whether we’ve been looking forward eagerly to his kingdom, but whether we’re doing something to make it happen, to help build heaven on earth.

So what will he find in you?A life dedicated to his service, continuing his ministry where he left off, or an obsession about the future so strong that you’ve forgotten about the present? A life lived for others, committed to bringing light where there is darkness,and joy where there is sorrow,or a preoccupation with yourself,with securing your own salvation?

Don’t think I doubt his promise.

The time is coming, just as they say,

a day when we will be called to account, made to answer for the way we’ve lived our lives, but if I were you, I wouldn’t dwell on that too long,

I’d get down to the business of discipleship, to walking the way of the Cross, or otherwise you may find, when the moment comes and judgement is pronounced, that the verdict is very different from the one you had in mind.

Holy and loving God, we have dwelt in darkness

and preferred it to the light;

we have been proud of our accomplishments

and despaired over our shortcomings.

Smooth down the mountains of our pride,

and lift up the valleys of our doubts.

Open a path in the wilderness of our lives

that we might find our way to you again.

Refine us and prepare us once again

for life in your kingdom.

Empower me to be a bold participant

rather than a timid saint in waiting,

in the difficult ordinariness of now;

To exercise the authority of honesty,

rather than to deceive to get it;

to influence someone for justice

rather than impress anyone for gain. Ted Loder.

VOICE IN THE DESERT He stumbles into our situation from his own desert

and there’s no reasoning with him –

his eyes are ringed with some fierce love, it clothes him roughly, makes his burnt-edged lips shape riddles in the sinking heat –a bit of a joker, surely – he invites us into the water where his sharp laughter has already split the sun; he almost has us tempted though we thought we had no need of light;

he has us waiting for the punch-line,

when he spins our dreams into a king

and he tells us he is following on paths we cannot find nor straighten.

Dawn Wood. Dundee Episcopal Cathedral. November 2002

For the desert places in which we walk The streets we roam, the paths we cross, Guide our feet, take us to places Where you would go. Give us words that you would use so we might point the way with John the Baptist to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Your voice calls out:

"prepare a way for the Lord!"

Accompany us, God,

through the waiting.

Accompany those displaced

waiting to return to the land.

Accompany those in refugee camps, waiting to go home.

Accompany those in conflict zones, waiting for normality.

Accompany those in violent homes

waiting for silence.

Accompany those imprisoned,

waiting for justice.

Accompany us God

through the waiting

from Bible Studies 2013, Christian Aid

Almighty God, by whose providence

your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born,

and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour

by the preaching of repentance:

lead us to repent according to his preaching

and, after his example, constantly to speak the truth,

boldly to rebuke vice, and patiently to suffer for the truth's sake;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

John Powell, Through Seasons of the Heart

There is an old Christian tradition that God sends each person into this world With a special message to deliver, With a special song to sing for others, With a special act of love to bestow. No one else can speak my message, Or sing my song, Or offer my act of love. These are entrusted only to me.

John the Baptist asked by Jesus to baptise Him

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