Crying Out in the Wilderness

“A voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of our God!'”

This Advent verse leaves me a bit befuddled this year.  What good is a voice crying out in the wilderness?  Why not a voice crying out in the city, the temple, the marketplace? She might reach a broader audience.  Who is in the wilderness to receive the message?

I suppose it would be the outcasts, those cast aside, those who are different or marginalized.  I suppose it would be the poor in spirit–those who know they cannot survive without God.  I suppose, in actuality, they would probably be the most receptive to the message of Love’s coming.  Perhaps, the crier knew her audience after all.

And maybe there was no one in the wilderness to whom to cry.  Perhaps it was only the ears of the desert animals and plants that were open to the message being spoken.  Maybe the message was for no one other than the one who cries.  Maybe it was a cry for her own heart–a heart in deep need.

I don’t often cry aloud for God; usually my prayer is thought silently in my heart and head or written in my journal.  However, the other night I awoke in the middle of the night and did just that–cried aloud to God.  Expressing my angst and need verbally was a different kind of prayer.   It was cleansing and real and necessary.

Once on retreat when I was younger, we went off into the woods in groups of three.  We linked arms in a circle facing out to the forest and we yelled our prayer and praise.  Again, my love for Jesus is often something spoken only in the intimacy of my own heart.  To yell it for all to hear was an annunciation about which I had to think:  “Do I really mean this enough to yell it in front of others?”  I yelled with conviction.  How often do we express our love in such a dramatic way?  We should do it more–

–like the crier in the wilderness, who obviously knew what she was doing after all.

S. Sarah

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