Friday, December 3, 2021

Preparers of the Way

What's it like to be born to parents who are "very old."  In Biblical parlance that could mean anything from 50 or 60 to 300.  Add to it that your parents tell everyone the story that an angel named Gabriel came to both your Mom and Pop to foretell your birth, give you your name, and provide them with a full plan for your whole life?  What is it like to live into that kind of expectation laid on you from birth?  (rf Luke 1) That you are charged with preparing everyone you can for the coming of the long-expected Messiah? 

John the Baptizer's life mission was all about preparation.  Beginning with the annunciation of his birth to his father Zechariah the angel Gabriel told him his son would "make ready for the Lord a prepared people."  His self-proclamation of who he was when quizzed was I am the one who prepares the way of the Lord. (Luke 3:4)  

Preparing the way for someone.  Who in your life prepared the way for you?  For whom do you prepare a way?  What is involved in helping someone prepare? Of course, that depends on what the person is preparing.  So, let's take faith.  John was in the wilderness, attracting huge numbers, and opening them up to deeper faith.  The Angel Gabriel told John's father, "He will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the father to their children, and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous." (Luke 1:15-17)  So, how do we go about preparing others to encounter their faith in a holistic loving way?  

We have to start with doing that for ourselves first.  It is kind of like not being able to love someone else well unless we love ourselves first.  If we feel inadequate in our depth of faith, we have to work on that. Don't be ashamed.  Giants in the faith have confessed their failing on this score.  Take John's father Zechariah again.  He flat out accused Gabriel, an angel of all things, of telling him an untruth there in the Temple.  For that, he lost his ability to speak until after Elizabeth delivered John. That's interesting since keeping silent, practicing contemplative prayer, spending daily time focused on a positive word (like gratitude) or a short verse can increase your faith muscles.

God wants a relationship with us.  The Lover of our souls wants us to love us and be in love with ourselves, with all of humanity, and with creation. God, the sender of many our way, sent them to prepare ourselves so we could prepare others.  Keep an eye open for those who may need a little conciliatory boost to their day.    

No comments:

Post a Comment