Monday, January 23, 2012

1/23/12 - Making The Path Straight

Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”
John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”

Every day I read and meditate (Lectio Divina) over a small passage from the gospels. Last week I finished Matthew's gospel, and started Mark. I've read it many times, but after I read it this time, I was struck by how intimate and immediate John the Baptist's message really is.

Repentance and forgiveness of sins isn't something you do just once, or need just once, in your Christian life. It isn't something you need once a year, or twice a year, or once a month. We need it constantly to retain our connection to Christ.

Jesus desires a true and contrite heart. HIS heart never fails. But our hearts fail repeatedly. We are fallen. We wander off the path, over and over and over again -- almost on a daily basis. We need repentance and forgiveness to reconnect with him. Not just in general, and not just once. We need it repeatedly.


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