The Baptist’s Cry

The Second Sunday of Advent sets before us the gaunt figure of John the Baptist, a man of luminous integrity to whom even Herod delighted to listen. I think what always strikes me about John is his joy. Even when he is giving us a tongue-lashing — ‘you brood of vipers’ — one senses underneath the excitement he feels at the nearness of God and his desire to make him known. Sometimes, when I read the fulminations of some of my fellow Christians, I am left feeling that I do not want to know their God. I simply cannot reconcile the God  in whom I believe with the harsh and unwelcoming figure they portray. That is not to say that we should reduce God and his message to a cosy, wishy-washy liberalism that won’t say anything is wrong because it is not convinced anything is right. On the contrary, the God in whom I believe is a Person of immense holiness, awesome in his otherness. I think it is because John was utterly captivated by the holiness of God that he was so joyful. Could the same be said of us?

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2 thoughts on “The Baptist’s Cry”

  1. I think that today’s Gospel is a powerful one and John’s description of those who he perceived as being hard of heart, living for themselves and not for God was harsh but justified.

    Sometimes you can just sense Advent in the hymns and readings chosen – a feeling of suppressed excitement as we await our deliverer.

    Again today for the first time since last Advent we sang O Come Emanuel which I find to be a most moving hymn, it really resonates through me, I feel the thrill and excitement of the words and feel that they are rising to heaven to be answered very soon.

    Advent is surely as much about hope as it’s about repentance and preparation – that hope in the shape of the Infant Jesus who changed everything for ever.

    Thanks be to God.

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