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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Preparing the Way.

Luke 3:1-20    Ezekiel 40-41    Isaiah 62

“Prepare the way for the people” (Isaiah 62:10). And “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4). Add to these words Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple (Ezekiel 40-41), and it is the theme of preparation that emerges as the predominant message in today’s readings. Prepare the way for the Lord and the people! Make the paths straight and clear! “Your salvation comes!” (Luke 3:6; Isaiah 62:11). And how, as we read the words of these three prophets of God, are such preparations made? What is the work that makes for a straight and clear path between the Lord and “the Redeemed of the Lord”? (Isaiah 62:12). Well.

“Mortal, look closely and listen attentively” (Ezekiel 40:4). In these instructions the essential root of preparation is to be found. Do you see it? “The word of God came to John” (Luke 3:2) . . . “the hand of the Lord was upon me” (Ezekiel 40:1) . . . “the Lord has proclaimed” (Isaiah 62:11). The first work of preparation is the work of God on our behalf. First God speaks. First God takes action. And we? We are to “look closely and listen attentively” so that we may catch the vision of what God is doing (this is the purpose of Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple), and that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Pay attention to what the Lord is already saying and doing. This is, on our side of things, the primary movement of preparation. We do well to get this straight. Then:

“Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Luke 3:8). So says John. For so it is that we prove we are paying attention. Repentance. Transformation. Out with the old, in with the new! Begin to walk the path that has been prepared. By the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16). How is it with us on this third day of Christmas? We have celebrated God’s great act of salvation . . . Are we living into it? We have been paying attention to God’s word . . . How is it bearing fruit in out lives? Are you preparing the way? Am I? May we look closely and listen attentively. May we be active partners with God in preparing the way of salvation. And may we bear fruits worthy of repentance. Amen.

“Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways  made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
— Luke 3:5,6

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