Tuesday, Week Four of Lent by Cheryl Johnson
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
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.”
When I signed up to write the devotional for this passage, Andrew said, “Oh, that is a good one.” As soon as I got out to my car, I googled the scripture to see which “good” scripture this was.
I thought back to my own baptism at age 7. I remember it well, primarily because my sister and I were baptized at the same time. I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into—this thing of being a Christian. What did it mean to be a follower of the Christ?
Years later, a minister admonished a person who was being baptized to “live into his/her baptism.” When I heard these words, baptism started making a little more sense to me. What was it to live into my baptism?
Could John’s words to “Prepare the way for the Lord” be a message for me as I seek to “live into my baptism?” How do I prepare the way for the Lord? As best I understand it, this means for me to be faithful in my following of the Christ. I may need to move out of my comfort zone, to offer a cup of cold water, to visit the lonely or imprisoned, to care for the oppressed, to feed the hungry, to find meaningful ways to interact with someone who is estranged, to give up my assumptions.
I love the words in our baptismal covenant: you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever. These are beautiful, yet challenging words, as I seek to live into my baptism and prepare the way for the Lord.