Today's sermon was based on the passage from Luke 3:1-6, which quotes Isaiah 40:3-5
John the Baptist Prepares the Way 1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
"A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
5Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
6And all mankind will see God's salvation.' "
The depth we so often talk about this passage leads us to "prepare the way" yet again. And yet, we stand and declare Jesus Christ as The Way. The Way has already been made. That means that valleys have been filled in. The paths have been made straight. The mountains and hills have been made low. The Way is set.
What I realized in preparing for the sermon this morning was that while the Way has already been established, we have done a good job, in the church of obscuring that Way. We have allowed it to get overgrown, we have failed to maintain it. We have set new roads, that lead far away from the Way. And in some very nasty circumstances we have managed to barricade the Way. We have prevented people from becoming followers of the Way.
This week, I was heartsick for them. I ask forgiveness for where I have blocked the path of someone to the Way of Jesus Christ, or the blessing that comes in salvation. I pray that God will open more doors to me to show others the Way. Let me be a lamppost to light the way, or one of the support people on a marathon route, providing food, water, a quick refresher, and most importantly a word of encouragement along the Way.