Preparing the way of the Lord — As a servant of hope
By David Bayne
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
The seasons of the church year have become significant in my rhythm of life, community and mission. I especially look forward to making space for Advent, as I prepare for the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus and anticipate His return in the promise of His second advent.
All four gospels introduce the message of John the Baptist as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” Advent is a reminder that we, too, are called to prepare the way for Jesus. It is a season of preparing the way for Jesus not only in our own hearts, but also inviting others to prepare their hearts. Our service of hope in Buenos Aires is to accompany our friends who live and work at the downtown train station and prepare the way for their hearts and lives to experience the Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love throughout the year.
Last year our community gathered together the first Sunday of Advent to worship, reflect and light the first candle of the Advent wreath, the candle of hope. We lit additional candles surrounding the wreath while naming our friends and praying the things we hope for in their lives. As followers of Jesus we are called to be visible signs of this hope. In Announcing the Reign of God, Mortimer Arias says, “How, then, can we announce the kingdom of God as hope? By hoping. By living and sharing hope. By working with hope. By dying with hope! To be an evangelist is to be a sign of hope, a servant of hope, a minister of hope.”1 As followers of Christ, we are called to be signs of hope, servants of hope.
As we light the Advent candle of hope this year, what do I hope for in my friends’ lives? How do I prepare the way for this hope in Jesus? How is my accompaniment in their lives an act of service that points them to this hope of healing and wholeness in Jesus? As my relationships with our friends continue to deepen, I find myself hoping more for their lives. I hope for alleviation from suffering, for liberation and transformation, for healing and wholeness. Whether sharing time together at the train station, in the plaza or at the church, my prayer is that our presence and hospitality offer hope in our friends’ lives.
Lord, make me a servant of hope.
1 Mortimer Arias, Announcing the Reign of God (Ohio: Academic Renewal Press, 2001), p. 89.
David’s love for Argentine culture continues to grow. He is especially grateful that it includes cafés, plazas, lingering meals around the table and drinking mate. All serve as opportunities to slow down and enjoy unhurried time with family and friends.