In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 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 tells us that “the word of God” came to John while he was in the wilderness. If God’s strange and wonderful communication came to John while he was in the wilderness, maybe a word from God might also come to us when we are facing our own wilderness. The word might come when we have gone away physically to be quiet and alone. Or that word might come when we are in a wilderness of loneliness, fear, or pain. Sometimes we seem able to hear God speak when we are in the wilderness.
What is your wilderness? What might God be speaking to you?
Unexpected and unmanageable God, you come and speak your word to us. And it seems sometimes we hear you best when we are in the wilderness of being alone in quiet or when we have hit bottom and have nowhere else to turn. Wherever we are, break us open to hear the word you are speaking, and in hearing to become more faithful disciples of Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.