During the season leading up to Christmas, we find ourselves face-to-face with an unusual biblical character named John the Baptist. To emphasize his unusualness, the church of the East has always depicted John as wearing hairy clothing just as the Bible describes. Of course, the fact that he ate locusts and wild honey helps to build his image as well.
Oftentimes, it takes someone unusual to announce an unusual happening. In John’s case, he was announcing of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John’s words are “prepare the way” for mountains to be leveled and valleys filled. In sum, prepare for the coming of the love and grace of God whose order for the world centers on forgiveness, peace, justice, and hope. John was also known not to mince words, calling some people ‘broods of vipers.’
John the Baptist presents the coming of Jesus with an unusual edginess. As faithful people, we also occupy a place on the edge of society. In many important ways, we do this with our refugee programs, ministering to people on the margins within the culture we live. Furthermore, from John’s ministry we see the call to be bold in our witness, too. Where do we go up to the edge the sake of the world?
Faithfully, Pastor Peter Johnson