2nd Sunday of Advent 2012

I'm trying to imagine what it was like in the 1st century A.D. to build roads suitable for keeping an empire under control. The Palestine province of the Roman empire had some rocky hilly places where roads were needed for armies on the march and for traders to travel. A lot of shovels and a lot of hard work by thousands was required. 

When roads are built now, there's a lot of work, but bulldozers and huge earth moving machinery can make a big impression in short time.

On the 2nd Sunday of Advent the church remembers the message of John the Baptist. I think he was a bit of a human bulldozer. He certainly made an unforgotten impression in a short time, not in a city but in the wilderness, not because he was anybody important, but because God used him to deliver a powerful message about the need to repent and turn back to God.

Here is some of what will be read from Luke's gospel today:

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: 
'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 
Every valley shall be filled, 
and every mountain and hill shall be made low, 
and the crooked shall be made straight, 
and the rough ways made smooth; 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'
Luke 3: 3- 6 (quoting the prophet Isaiah)

We're not all bulldozers like John the Baptist. If God hands you a shovel to help build a road through your heart and world fit for him to use, what will you do with it? While I was thinking about this, I remembered this prayer for the world:
O God, our Heavenly Father, 
give us a vision of our world as your love would make it: 
a world where the weak are protected 
and none go hungry or poor; 
a world where the benefits of civilised life are shared, 
and everyone can enjoy them; 
a world where different races, nations and cultures 
live in tolerance and mutual respect; 
a world where peace is built with justice, 
and justice is guided by love; 
and give us the inpiration and courage to build it, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
St Martin-in-the-Fields prayer for the world


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