Peace for the prepared
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Marl 1:1-3, RSV)
Nothing in life is more elusive than peace. Peace is not violent! Peace does not force itself upon us or our relationships.
Peace requires cooperation. Peace requires preparation. So, Christmas tantalizes us with news about the “Prince of Peace”.
Mark’s Gospel offers us a proclamation of peace (1a). It comes in the form of “the gospel” – Good News. We all like good news.
Mark offers us the good news of peace which was first declared by the angels. This good news is about the birth, suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Mark immediately goes beyond proclamation to point us to a person of peace (1b). We are introduced to God’s supreme revelation – “Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. If we want to know about God – if we want to know God – we have only to look at Jesus. We are not saved by a proclamation; we are saved by a Person.
The Living word is more important than the artistic word of creation, the written of scripture, or the spoken word of sermons. We are invited to a relationship, ant here we discover peace with God, which in turn makes possible peace with ourselves, peace with others, and peace on earth.
Mark calls us to a preparation for this peace (2-3). During Advent we prepare for Christmas. We prepare for all important events in our lives: weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. We are to prepare the way for Christ in our own hearts. Hopefully, our lives and conduct will help others prepare for the coming of Christ. What is at stake here?
It is nothing less than peace with God, our own inner peace, peace with others, the salvation of our souls, the hope of humankind, the future of the world – eternity is a stake! “O Come, O Come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel.” Ransom us, too, and give us peace! Peace.
Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.