They pressed him, “Who, then? Elijah?”
“I am not.”
(John 1:21; The Message)
I called my mom awhile ago. When she answered the phone, she asked, Marj? (Marj was one of mom’s previous coworkers) I patiently waited and responded with, “No mom, it’s me Tara!” There is a soul weariness that comes with being one of moms caretakers. There is a soul weariness that comes with not knowing if she will know who I am today. There is soul weariness that comes in waiting for the phone calls that no longer come. And I’ll be honest, there is sadness and disappointment when she doesn’t know who I am or forgets my birthday.
So today’s text is hitting me straight in the gut today. In fact, so much so that I can’t shake this feeling and now as I write, the tears are beginning to flow; tears for my mom, tears for all the hatred and evil I see in the world; and tears for you and for me! For Pete’s sake….I thought I was done crying and had no more tears left to shed.
When they came to John and asked him if he was Elijah or the prophet, was their disappointment that he wasn’t? My guess is yes. These individuals were looking for the Messiah; the one sent to break down into the kingdom to save the people. The thing is Jesus did show up; only eight verses later. Jesus in the stillness of night let out his first cry which broke into the world—Jesus; Emmanuel; God with us!
Clinging to the hope of Jesus, who does Jesus say we are? Are we the voices calling out in the wilderness? Who does Jesus say that I am? Am I willing to be a voice calling out in the wilderness? In the wilderness, as beloved, broken, blessed children of God, it seems to me that we are called to use our voices to proclaim this one, who born in the midst of the dirt and stench of the manger, comes to redeem the world.