While coming to school from Juba we met with a group of Nomads bringing their cattle from Magwi to Juba. For 2 KM the cattle filled the road, preventing our car, or any cars or lorries from passing; reminding me of how a smooth road is – no dirt roads, no slow uphill climbs, no getting stuck, no roundabouts, no frustrations, just moving through.
The gospel of Mark begins with the voice of the one crying out in the wilderness. “Prepare the way of the Lord.” The prophet Isaiah announced, “Comfort! Prepare the way of the Lord; He is your God.” When Jesus was coming to him, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus saying, “Look the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) John is calling the people of God to prepare the way for the Lord; get the road ready for the coming of the Lord – make it straight make it smooth. He is talking about removing all the obstacles in our lives, urging us to make smooth the rough places in our lives, filling in the hollows, making low the mountains and hills that will prevent us from welcoming Jesus and His message of salvation. Repentance clears away all rubbish that blocks the coming of the Lord: John is urging all to repent, be turned away from greed, selfishness, unkindness, thoughtlessness, saying bad things, anger, laziness, and poor commitment to God and His church. John shouted the message of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus comes to us so we can have a closer relationship with God. God sent us His Son, who makes right what has gone wrong. Jesus has come and brings forgiveness and reconciliation. Jesus came the first Christmas in the flesh bringing peace to troubled hearts and a troubled world. He came to deal with sin. He came to bring forgiveness and renewal into lives. Today He is saying to each of us, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you want peace and joy, and life and love, then I am the One who can give it to you. I am the One who is the way to eternal life. There is no other way.” Christ came to give His power so His love, peace, patience, kindness, and gentleness, flow through us into the lives of others. Through Word and Sacrament the way of the Lord is prepared in us and through us.