Please join and invite your family and friends to celebrate and give thanks at The Parish Eucharist at 10:00am on Sunday 5th December at St. John's Mortimer and online at ZOOM:
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Today’s Gospel passage relates how John the Baptist challenged his hearers to prepare a ‘way in their hearts’ for the Messiah by levelling the mountains of pride and the valleys of neglect and injustice and straightening crooked ways. John called upon the people to turn from tired and empty old ways to renew their lives and to express this commitment to transformation by receiving the baptism of repentance.
The Gospel’s simple message is that we too need to ‘prepare’ or shape up our own hearts and lives if we are to make way for the goodness of Christ in this world. The imagery speaks of our need to fill the empty ‘valleys’ of our lives and straighten crooked paths and make restitution. This means that if we’ve been harbouring grudges, chips or hatreds, or failing in any way to be reconciled with others, now is the time to clear away all the debris. As individuals we might have to overcome deep-seated resentments, persistent fault-finding, unwillingness to forgive, dishonesty in our dealings with others, or a controlling attitude. And we all have to level the ‘mountains’ of our pride and egocentrism by practicing the humility of rendering humble service to others.
John the Baptist’s simple message calls upon us to confront and confess our sins and shortcomings, seek forgiveness from God and from those we have injured, and forgive those who may have offended us.
A great snow storm hit a remote community. Snow drifted to six feet. The time had come for Mary Smith to have her baby. But it was impossible for the midwife to get through the snow drifts. Mary’s husband asked their neighbours to help get the midwife through. Men and women came from all directions with snowploughs and shovels and worked until finally the midwife was able to make it to the Smith’s home in time to deliver the baby boy. The Gospel prompts us to remember a call from another Father, a call which was repeated by John the Baptist, to ‘make ready the way of the Lord.’ This is not, of course, a call to remove piles of snow, but those piles of neglect and injustice that make it difficult for the Christ child to be born and live in hearts, lives, families and communities.
There is a story about a machinist with the Ford motor company in Detroit who had, over a period of years, ‘borrowed’ various tools and parts from the business. While this practice was not condoned, it was more or less accepted by the management. The machinist, however, became a practising Christian and was baptized. Next morning he arrived at work loaded down with all the tools and parts he had ‘borrowed’ down the years. He explained the situation to his manager, adding that he hoped he’d be forgiven. The manager was so astonished and impressed by his action that he cabled Mr. Ford himself, who was visiting a European plant, and explained the entire event. Immediately Mr Ford cabled back: ‘Dam up the Detroit River and baptize the entire city!’
God bless, Paul
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