Luke 3:1-6

             In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias 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 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.

             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.'”

             John the Baptist is always introduced the same way, with words from Isaiah.  “A voice crying out… ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’”  Valleys are raised, mountains flattened – it’s the ancient version of a massive interstate highway project. 

            Who is doing the preparation work?  Is it John through his preaching?  Though John’s role is important, it seems that the task is too big for any one man. 

            Instead, the prophet’s words ought to be seen as a prayer.  God is raising up the valleys, leveling off the mountains, and smoothing the way.  God prepares the way of the Lord.

            God also prepares the Lord’s way into each of our hearts.  God smoothes our rough edges, straightens our crookedness, and raises us from our lowliness.  May we join the prophet and pray for this.

In my life, O God, prepare the way of the Lord.

 Rev. Joshua Patty

Fairmont – Central Christian Church