Christianity 201

December 11, 2014

We Are That Voice

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:37 pm
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Today’s devotional came recommended; it’s from the blog of a young writer, Aaron J. Smith, Cultural Savage. To read this at source, click the title below, and then take a few minutes to look around his blog. You might even know someone you want to recommend it to.

The Voice In The Wild

There is always a voice.

There is always something shouting in the wilderness, protesting the status quo. There is always a voice declaring the coming kingdom of God, challenging the powers and principalities of this world, and speaking welcome to all that will come. There is always a voice that lives in the margins, away from the centers of power and prestige, among the oppressed, the down trodden, the broken. There is always a voice announcing that Jesus is on his way here.

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
`Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 1:1-8

John was the voice of his time, calling people to make way for Jesus, to embrace him when he showed up, to not hinder his arrival. John was that voice in the wilderness, speaking before the footsteps of Jesus. John was that voice calling people away from sin, self-justification, religious oppression, classism, racism, sexism, calling people away from their small hearts into the big love of the righteous God.

John was the voice before Christ’s first coming. Where is the voice before the Second Advent?

Where is the voice now calling us out of moralistic darkness into the light of a Spirit led life? Where is the voice now crying out against injustice? Where is the voice shouting for equality of all people? Where is the voice now speaking against religious self-justification? Where is the voice now, in this day, among this people?

It should be the church.

It isn’t the church.

We have grown mute, silent in our waiting for the second coming. We have become silent because we have become blind. We don’t see that we now sit at the table with the empires of the world, eating and drinking while others starve and wither away. We don’t see that we are the ones self-justifying our inaction while protesters cry for justice. We don’t see that we have lost our prophetic voice, and instead speak of false peace.

We have lost our voice in the wild.

We have left the wild and settled into the lap of empires and powers of this world.

We have become that which obstructs the coming of our Lord.

Instead of making straight the paths of the Lord, we have become the gate keepers and toll booths along the highway of the king. Instead of calling all to come, repent, and be baptized we sit in judgment on the marginalized and oppressed, speaking out about how they should change and behave. Instead of speaking life death spews forth in our silence.

We have lost our voice.

But is the voice in the wild silent?

No! May it never be.

The voice still resounds for those with ears to hear. The voice still cries out for justice for the blood spilled in the streets. The voice still calls out to God to come and set all things right. It is the voice of the oppressed, the voice of the poor, the trodden down masses, the marginalized. It is the voice of the new civil rights movements. It is the voice shattering the stigma of mental illness. It is the voice of justice judging the wealthy who do nothing to ease the burdens of the poor.

The voice now speaks out, but it is no longer the voice of the church.

Oh that it would be again though. If the church could give up its luxury and corrupt power plays, if the church could get out of bed with politics and corporations, if the church would repent of its racism, sexism, classism, if the church would work towards reconciliation, justice, and peace, if the church would return to the wild, we could again hear the call of God.

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry out!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”

See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

Isaiah 40:1-11

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