Short talk (ok VERY short talk) for tomorrow’s informal service. Its being followed up by a led christmastide mediation by Revd Sue Wallace. So i shouldn’t talk too long.
John the Baptist has always struck me as a peculiar character. And I wonder if the gospel writer also thought that as described John as wearing a camel hair tunic, a wide leather belt and eating locusts with honey. At first glance John does not appear to be someone who is on an even keel, who is in fact, dare I say, a bit wacko.?!
So who really, in their right mind, would be attracted to such a character, even less go up to him and accept the receiving of baptism?! Would you?
Jesus did. He saw something in John that was right and true. He saw a man speaking the truth, passionately. As did people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and the whole region of The Jordan. They sought John out and after confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
However, we do not get to hear John’s story. All we know is that he fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of being a messenger of God in the wilderness. But what did John do to get to this point? Why did he dress so? How did John end up in the wilderness? Was he lost?
These are familiar questions to us because all of us at some time or another have found ourselves in places we didn’t plan for. Perhaps they are physical, spiritual or emotional places that, perhaps, would have been better avoided if possible. And we ask ourselves, what have I done? How did I end up here and even, how do I get out?
Perhaps John asked himself these questions too in times of doubt. How thrilled he must have been to finally see Jesus walking up to him!
And so it is with our journey with Christ. This Holy time of Advent when we reflect on who we are with Christ can give new life to our questions. New hope, that we are not alone. New light, that our darkness will come to an end.