"One mightier than I is coming after me.”
During theology class one day, my teacher made a long list on the chalkboard. At the top was the word, “me.” Below it ran a list of things like family, friends, school, work, extracurricular activities, etc. Somewhere down the list was “God,” and at the very, very bottom was “this piece of chalk.”
“This,” my teacher stated, “is how many people view the world. The order of this list doesn’t really matter as long as I am at the top and everything else is below me.” He was being a bit dramatic, but the idea was clear – most of us view ourselves as the most important thing in the world, and we often make decisions and treat people based on that. “However, the truth is,” he taught, “God sits at the top. God is the most important. Then come others, and then you.”
This lesson has always stuck with me. How I usually put myself first and above all others. I want to choose how I spend my day. I want to talk about things that are important to me. I want others to recognize how hard I work and how generous I can be.
The reality is that I need to be more like John the Baptist. I need to point the way to Jesus, to someone greater than I. The reality is that all things in my life – my gifts, my talents, my entire being – were created and gifted by God. I am not the source and creator of my life, God is.
During this Advent season, we are reminded that “one mightier than I coming.” How can we all be like John the Baptist. How do I point the way towards Jesus? How do my words, my actions, and my attitudes point to this greater and mightier power?
Let us pray,
Good and gracious God, help me to grow in humility. Allow my heart to grow in patience, understanding, empathy, and compassion, and send your Holy Spirit to work through my hands. In my daily actions, attitudes, and decisions, help me point the way to You, the source of all things good and true.
Each Sunday during Advent we’ll also take a moment to highlight the actual Scriptural sites where these passages during Advent take place. This week’s Gospel reading takes place at the Jordan River, which flows north to south, ending at the Dead Sea. Today, you can reach the Jordan River in only about an hour ride from Jerusalem, but in Jesus’ time the journey would have taken most of the day.
When most pilgrims arrive at the Jordan River, they are usually shocked at its stature. While most imagine a large, mighty river like the Mississippi, in actuality the Jordan River is more like a small creek. Generally, it’s only about 10 or 15 feet across to the other side. And it’s incredibly cloudy.
Nevertheless, despite its looks, the Jordan River provides a wonderful reflection point in regards to the story of John the Baptist, the Baptism of Jesus, and in turn, our own baptismal call to disciples
This reflection was written by John Paul Lichon.
John Paul is the Founder of Verso Ministries. He lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife, daughter, and the newest member of the family due in March.