December 11 - Preparing the Way & Passing the Mic
Mark 1:1-8 | Vanderbilt Divinity School
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In today's text from Mark, John the Baptizer is busy doing the work of a preacher - baptizing and proclaiming the good news of forgiveness. But he's also busy getting his followers ready to follow someone else. He's doing what some today might call "Legacy Building" - helping make sure his followers are ready for what's going to come next. In today's language, we might say he's ensuring his "brand" will survive the changes that are about to come.
Preparing our followers to follow someone else isn't something most people are intuitively "good" at. Whether you work in the corporate world, the non-profit sector, as a political leader, or a religious setting, it can be hard to pass on power. It's hard to pass the mic. This is part of why people with privilege seem to be the people who stay in power. Once you have it, it can be hard to give up the limelight and give your audience over to another voice.
Questions for Reflection:
Seminaries that Change the World is a program of The Center for Faith and Service, based out of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.
For more information about the Center for Faith and Service and its programs, including Service Programs that Change the World, and The New Faces of Ministry Project, please visit www.faithandservice.org