Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (Second Ordinary)

The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb!
He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me’. I knew nothing about who he was – only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognise him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptising with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God”. (John 1: 29 – 31)

In Richard Wagner’s magnificent opera Die Meistersinger, a night watchman walks through an apparently deserted street calling out, “Hear, people, what I say, the clock has struck 10; guard your fire and also your light so that no one comes to harm! Praise God the Lord!” Of course between his appearances a near-riot breaks out, which he misses completely, but still: Imagine you lived in the era of town criers and night watchmen when an entire village might rely on one person to broadcast the news, make announcements, and deliver public warnings.

John the Baptist was a kind of crier – in the wilderness – and watchman, warning people to take action before it was too late. John, though, was doing more than making announcements; he was introducing  all who would listen to news of a person who would change their lives forever.

Receiving something previously unheard of can be difficult. Sometimes it is not enough to hear news. You have to let it soak in and transform you. As you come to appreciate how change can be life-giving, you can become more ready to accept what lies ahead.

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