“…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 sins, 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.” (Luke 3:2-4)
Advent is a season of preparation. As the Prophet Isaiah once said, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord!’ But what exactly are we preparing for? Jesus came over two thousand years ago, and John the Baptist prepared the people then. Surely we are not just telling stories!
Advent is a season of storytelling – perhaps the greatest story of all time, but Advent is not just about having a nativity play or reading scripture or singing familiar songs that invite us back into the celebration of Christmas. Advent is more than telling stories.
Advent challenges us to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ today! As we are learning in the Handel’s Messiah Bible Study, there is a long tradition of prophets calling the people to prepare for God’s presence. And God is with us – God’s grace is within reach. So preparing the way of the Lord is a continuous and necessary – perhaps habitual and religious – part of life for us as Disciples of Christ. Jesus has come and is risen, AND is present now on earth in the Body of Christ – the church. During this Advent Season, let us ‘prepare the way of the Lord’ by preparing ourselves as the Body of Christ.
Our Advent theme for worship this year is “Dreams and Visions.” Over the last year, we developed dreams and visions through our Discernment Process. We dreamed aspiring dreams for our Outreach Ministry, Christian Education, Worship, Mission and Congregational Life. We also took time to name who we think we are as the Body of Christ: We are a family that loves and supports one another. We cherish our diversity, and we are committed to learning and growing as a community to become more inclusive. We like to pray together – communally and personally. And when we worship, it is a spiritual experience that draws on our diversity and deep love for music.
As we enter this Advent Season, I challenge you to “prepare” yourself and “prepare” as a community for the way of the Lord. Help us to live into our aspiring identity and live out our dreams as the Body of Christ. Tell the stories of those who prepared for Jesus and embrace your own preparations for this most magnificent and gracious relationship to the divine that we find ourselves in today. “Prepare the way of the Lord!”