Proclaim the Good News
Tammy Lindle Lewis of Independence, MO, USA
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 1:4-8
John the baptizer promoted Jesus’ coming. He didn’t merely tell a few friends and family. This wasn’t a casual topic discussed over a cup of tea with strangers. He made it his mission to proclaim Jesus to city and country folk alike. He offered baptism, encouraged repentance and confession, and foretold a coming baptism with the Holy Spirit. He helped people look beyond where they were. He said to prepare because someone great was coming.
From Mark’s description, John wasn’t a snappy dresser (unless the extreme, out-of-fashion “retro look” was part of his gimmick). He didn’t dine lavishly. His message wasn’t about being comfortable. In fact, his focus wasn’t on himself at all. John had a large following, but he pointed people beyond himself and toward Jesus-the one who is greater.
Today we endure a barrage of “voices” crying out to us, proclaiming urgent warnings or making astounding claims or judgments about events, people, policies, or products that will either save or destroy us. Because of the internet, these warnings and proclamations can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time. We hear elected officials promoting their agendas, their power, their greatness. We have no lack of self-promoters.
How unusual it must have been to experience someone like John! His message was not about himself. It was for everyone, and it proclaimed great news! He didn’t get rich. He had no conflict of interest from his work. He wasn’t getting a kickback. He was about preparing the way for a Lord.
Many of us also add our voices to the mix, freely sharing our views on politics, policies, events, products, and people. Perhaps we need to ask what is or where is the good news in what we’re sharing? How can our voices, posts, and tweets best declare what God is doing in our lives?
Advent Prayer Phrase
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).
Advent Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.