Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
John the Baptist was big news in Israel. People flocked to hear him proclaim that Messiah was coming. After Jesus was baptized, John begins to wonder if he really is the Promised One. He sends some of his followers to ask Jesus about it. “When the messengers of John had left, [Jesus] began to speak to the crowds about John, ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces!’” (Luke 7:24-25)
Jesus acknowledged that John was a non-conformist, as are most prophets. We might even think of John the Baptist as a crazy person, willing to live in the desert and eat 'locusts and wild honey'.
In Godspell, the 1970's musical, John is portrayed as a minstrel who calls an assortment of normal people out of their routine-dancing, working, etc. by his shofar and song. Their joy is contagious as they join him to ‘prepare the way’. Sometimes we need a nonconformist to remind us that our God is living and transformative, not staid and boring.
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