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.'"
It almost goes without saying: We are living through challenging times. Far too often it can feel like we are wandering in a desert, torn between conflicting views about justice, about the pandemic, about the very nature of democracy—and whether God is really present and continues to care day to day about this Creation. Our gospel reading reminds us that even in the depths of our fear and uncertainty, God is there lighting a path forward, drawing us close, showing us that repentance leads to forgiveness, and forgiveness grounds our hope. If only we have eyes of trust we will see God’s salvation is at hand.
Mothering God, light our way through the deserts of our brokenness. Nurse us into just relationships. Breathe your love and hope into us, and help us to breathe out our anguish and fear. Amen.