Tuesday, March 8, 2011

5th Step

The 5th Step

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"(Mark 1:3).

Who does the voice belong to?

What is the significance of the wilderness forum?

How does one prepare the way of the Lord?

How does one make his paths straight?

Level 1: the voice is the voice of the messenger, the representative of the Lord.
The wilderness is the domain of a dessert God. One prepares the way of the Lord by teaching the people to genuflect, to show the proper respect to the arriving sovereign. The people make the Lord’s paths straight by rolling out the red carpet and greeting him with pomp.

Level 2: The voice is not simply the voice of a messenger, but actually embodies all the utterances of the prophets and patriarchs. The voice is the continuation and conclusion of over a thousand years of prophetic tradition. The voice is that of Elijah who has come again. The wilderness is not simply the place where God meets and makes covenants with people and nations. The wilderness is the middle ground between God’s domain of the heavens or Eden and the human domain of the cities, where everything is made, fashioned and controlled by human beings. One prepares the way of the Lord by initiating the process of dying to the world. The Lord needs others who will following in his path and imitate the way in which he breathed his last (Mark 15: 39). Making the Lord’s paths straight means discerning and highlighting the contrast between the human reality of senses and law and the Godly reality of spirit and grace.

Level 3: The voice is the voice of God, heard in the wilderness where human customs, laws and traditions cannot interfere with its pure transmission. John prepares the way of the Lord, by receiving the Lord’s message, proclaiming that message and dying for that message. John makes the Lord’s paths straight by eventually provoking the question of: “Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin”(Mark 11:30)? The answer which the Pharisees are unable to proclaim is both. The good news of Jesus Christ the Son of God is that God and human beings, the heavens and the earth are reunited.

The fifth step is complex. First we must clear space in our lives to make a wilderness where the everyday human concerns and business of life cannot intrude and garble the transmission of God’s pure voice. Secondly, we must listen to God’s voice and obey its command to prepare the Lord’s way by dying to the world. We prepare the Lord’s paths by allowing the Lord to seamlessly integrate with us.

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