Testify to the Light
Andrew Bolton of Harvest Hills, MO, USA
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light….This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said. -John 1:6-8, 19-23
Who am I?
The eldest son of Jack Bolton and Mary Breay. Northern English. I define myself in relationship to others. I am not Southern English (they speak funny) nor Welsh. I am not German or French, although their languages married a thousand years ago and birthed my own. My identity is defined by family, clan, tribe, and nation.
Who is John?
John the Baptist is very clear who he is. He is not the light. Not the Messiah. Not Elijah nor the prophet. John also defines himself in relationship to others. However, it is not a tribal identity. His identity is in relationship to the light, the Messiah, Jesus. His task is to point to Him, to testify of the light, to make his path straight to my heart.
John is calling me to a new identity in Jesus. That is why he brings the ministry of repentance -the opportunity to turn, to change, to embrace Jesus. Later in the Gospel of John, we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” (John 3:16). Jesus came because God loves the whole world, not just Northern England!
Who am I?
Like John the Baptist I am called to define my identity in relationship to Jesus. This then makes peace between all humans possible because old tribal identities are gone in Jesus, the Messiah. So, with the angels, let us sing with hope a peace song this Advent.
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.