A voice is crying out:
“Clear the Lord’s way in the desert!
Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
Every valley will be raised up,
and every mountain and hill will be flattened.
Uneven ground will become level,
and rough terrain a valley plain.
The Lord’s glory will appear,
and all humanity will see it together;
the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.” Isaiah 40:3-5
“Shhhh…. you’re too loud!” This is a common phrase in our household. With two boys, the noise level tends to escalate quickly.
How many times a day do you think children hear the sound, “Shhh….”? I don’t know, but I’m guessing it’s quite a bit. And while there is a time and place to shush our children, we parents need to be cautious about exercising that authority. For when our children are shushed too often, they can lose their voice.
In a world that seems to be dominated by voices of materialism and hate, it is more important than ever to raise our voices above the din of commercials, cash registers, finger pointing and political rhetoric. As writing guru Lucy Calkins writes:
“In a world that is increasingly dominated by big corporations and big money, it is easy for individuals to feel silenced…In a democracy, we must help young people grow up to know how to voice their ideas, know how to speak out for what is right and good.” A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop
As Jesus People, I think we have a distinctive voice. It is a voice that proclaims love in the midst of fear, hope in the midst of despair, patience in the midst of conflict, mercy in the midst of hurt and grace in the midst of blame.
Look at the message Isaiah gives the Israelites about their future deliverance from captivity. Clear the Lord’s way in the desert! Make a path through the wilderness! Get ready for the Lord to come. This is the same scripture John the Baptist uses as he sets out in the wilderness to preach the coming of the Messiah. John is the voice calling out of the wilderness, “Get ready! The Lord is coming!” Throughout the New Testament writings the authors talk about the Apostles “proclaiming” the Good News of Jesus Christ.
You see, throughout Biblical history God’s chosen people have been given a voice to proclaim the love of God to the world. And we use that voice every time we take a moment to listen to someone who is hurting.
We use that voice every time we recognize and seek to meet a human need.
We use that voice when we practice acceptance of others, recognizing in those who are different from us a fellow child of God.
We use that voice when we defy our culture of busyness and practice Sabbath, stilling ourselves before the Lord.
We use that voice when we tell our children they can’t participate in Sunday sports because we want them to learn about and worship God.
We use that voice when we draw attention to those living in the midst of poverty and oppression.
We use that voice when we actively serve others.
We use that voice when we dedicate the first 10% of our income to God’s use through the church.
We use that voice when we offer words of encouragement and hope to those who are struggling with life’s challenges.
We use that voice when we choose to love instead of blame.
We use that voice when we offer positive solutions to conflict rather than continuing the cycle of negativity and complaint.
In short, we use that voice when we actively seek to follow in Christ’s footsteps, preparing the way for his glorious return.
And in claiming our Jesus People voice, we help to show others the way to claim theirs as well. When we show others love, we show our children how to love. When we serve in our communities, we teach our children how to serve. When we practice Sabbath, we model Sabbath for our children. In that way, a legacy is created.
Can you imagine what a transformation this world would undergo if we, the Jesus People, chose to claim our voices? When we prepare the way for the Lord, then the Lord’s glory WILL appear and ALL humanity will see it TOGETHER!
How will you proclaim God’s love today?
Blessings and Peace,