The authorities looked at each other confused, and then at the large following he had. He must be someone!
“Come on, give us an answer, who are you?”
He looked at the religious folk all dressed in their heavy material sweating under the hot sun, paused and then said:
“I am the voice!”
They looked even more confused.
He went on, “crying out in the wilderness:”
They looked at him expecting something clearer.
“Make straight the way of the Lord”
“Why are you out in the desert then?” They ask because they were getting nothing clear out of him, nothing that
made sense so they thought they needn’t be too worried.
“Don’t be concerned about me,” he said. There was a gasp of relief.
“Think about the one who comes after me, whose sandal I am not fit to untie. I am only a witness. He’s already here
And the dread in their stomachs returned.
Maybe this year Advent feels quieter, different. Perhaps this is the very time to speak up in our village as John did. John was a voice in the wilderness. I challenge you to be that voice in Ardoch. John was someone who broke the silence of God after centuries. He spoke up for the Good News for those who were least and lost.
It’s time to find our Advent voice this year and speak into the silence, for those whose voices are heard less this year
because of the pandemic, be that voice where resources are less, and hope is marginalised, be that voice for those who are scared to speak out?
Might this just be the voice we have, when other things are not happening this advent, where we can speak more clearly, as a voice in the wilderness, for those whose voices are frightened and even broken?
Being silence-breakers is the act of witness-bearing for John. He faced the religious authorities, he had them coming out into the desert. It was a long way from the centres of power in the cities, but yet they came to hear. His voice, or the truth his voice held, must have been felt far from the Jordan and locust patches.
It is a rather dramatic, yet real, Advent message today that each one of us can proclaim.
The signpost is directing, the voice is crying, the finger is pointing. Might this become our renewed, reframed Advent ritual.
This is the Good News. Make straight the paths.