Luke 3:1–6 (NRSV)
Chapter 3In 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, Verse 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. Verse 3He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, Verse 4as 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. Verse 5Every 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; Verse 6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
This is such a familiar text! And such a powerful reminder that our God is one whose salvation stretches across time and space, reaching into every corner of our world and our being. John’s wilderness words are a reminder and call for us to repent, to “turn around” so that we can live into the forgiveness of our sins that comes from the hands of our God. Even now, as we perceive the many ways we have participated in brokenness, we are reminded that every obstacle to God’s love will be made low, that every path no matter how winding will lead directly to God. This is the promise we are holding onto during Advent; this is at the heart of our anticipation.
Mothering God, breathe with us in our wandering; help us to feel your love drawing us more deeply toward each other. When the way gets rough, when we want to refuse to see you in the eyes of those we have named as enemies or those who have hurt us, help us to see you anew. Breathe your love into us; help us to breathe out in repentance. Amen.