Mark 1:1-8 (NRSV)
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 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. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 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. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
I think perhaps most if not all of you know that I have three younger brothers. When we all get together we can be well…a bunch of goobers all together. We think we are hilarious. We tell stories. We have dance offs. We make fun of one another. When all four of us are in one room, we usually have a pretty good time. We have all brought home people that are pretty cool as well. I am so thankful that my brothers have chosen amazing women to be their wives. They are truly sisters to me and in a house full of male energy, I have welcomed the chance to shop for jewelry and talk about something other than sports. 🙂
When we were younger, we also kept each other company. We were usually referred to as the “big kids” (Grant and me) and “the little boys” (Andrew and Colin). Grant and I are 2.5 years apart and would keep each other company. We played and fought a lot together. While as kids, I think Grant and I were more like oil and water, I appreciate his gifts and perspective as an adult for sure. I used to make Grant do all kinds of things…..act as my sister, dress up as my secretary, try all sorts of concoctions, put on all sorts of make up and costumery, dance in music videos, etc. When Andrew came along, we definitely transferred some of that to him (he was the kid that I tied a string to his tooth and the other end to the door) but when it was Grant and me, we had many adventures.
One day, we (and I am sure that when I say we it might have been mostly me) decided that we should make a safety video for kids out in the world. We would do all of these dangerous stunts…ok, I would make Grant do all of these dangerous stunts and I would run across the screen (we would video this of course) yelling, “Don’t do this at home, kids!” This was going to be pure genius!
Somehow we convinced our dad to let us use the video camera. I was probably about 8 and Grant at about 6. We staged it all. Our first stunt would be Grant would be swinging along and jump when the swing hit the maximum height. He would do this cool tumble out of the swing and on the ground. He would be fine and I would run across yelling, “Don’t do this at home, kids!” Brilliant! We put Grant in the swing. I explained to the video camera that this stunt was very dangerous but Grant was a professional. Unbeknownst to us, we picked the one swing where the hooks were pointed in instead of out. Unbeknownst to us, he got in that swing and immediately the loop of his pants rested on that hook. So when Grant when to do his amazing jump and tumble, as he jumped, he stayed attached. A look of horror swept across his face as he realized that he was going down, not with a tumble, but dragged across the dirt. Diligently I still trodded out to say my, “Don’t do this at home…..kids!” as my brother lay in the dirt.
It. was. hilarious! My family watched it over and over and over again. We swore that we would send it into funniest home videos but somehow we never did.
The whole idea was that I would prepare the way for my brother to do his thing. We set everything up and still it didn’t turn out exactly as planned.
John the Baptist today is the one yelling out the coming danger, the unexpected surprises and a little of “Don’t do this at home kids!” He is the one yelling out what is to happen on the larger stage. He wants all to listen. He has taken the video camera and run with it.
The world needs John. The one who yells out and gets us ready to see who is coming. Without John, we might have missed the whole thing in all of its glory. Sometimes we need to be John. During this season of Advent, part of our job is to yell out to the world that there is something fabulous and dangerous coming all at once. This something will completely change our lives. This something will make us tumble and jump and laugh until our sides hurt and love life even more. We have to be ready to catch this fantastic thing or else we will miss it!
How will you tell the world that the world is changing?