Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8
“You might find him stuck in a tree in his backyard, pruning branches, creating new paths . . .” – Nancy Brook
If you or I are paths by which God reaches others it is because someone pruned us making us accessible – or rather, making God accessible. Today’s Gospel is about preparing the way. John the Baptist is the prime example of the trail blazer. But he is only the prototype. Now we take over for him. The path connecting us and God is not always clear. It is often like a seldom used mountain trail that has been covered over both with new growth and also rotten fallen trees. (See Greek Below) This is the path we navigate through life. It is sometimes so rough we might twist our ankle. Such are the twists and turns that life throws our way. However, there are people in our lives who hack through the bramble and prune the way for us. They are avenues for God. They are modern day John the Baptists. Now it is our turn to prepare the way in the lives of those crossing our paths. The result is that we are all washed in the Holy Spirit.
Mark 1:3 has two words for the travel route. The first one, usually translated “way,” is the more common word describing an established road. The second word, usually translated “paths,” is a less common word, only used three times in the whole New Testament. This word is descriptive of a narrow track, like a trail in the words, not always clearly seen.
The trail disappeared.
Then hacking heard up ahead.
The way smooth – God near.