Sunday, January 9, 2011

Isaiah 42:1–9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34–43; Matthew 3:13–17

My college motto is vox clamantis in deserto, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. It suits a college whose fame includes being the setting for the movie Animal House. Cry out in playful poetry. Cry out in inebriated bombast. Cry out amid the lone pines of New Hampshire. I love my alma mater for its love of crying out, but I love God more for reminding me that the vox clamantis was John the Baptist, and that John the Baptist cried not just to make a fuss, but so that all of us might return to who it is we truly are. At the baptism of our Lord, Jesus chose this man, this master at crying out.

In late October I met John the Baptist face-to-face—not on the muddy trickle of the Jordan, but on the black waters of the Upper Connecticut River. He was short and feisty, and the eight of us who gathered in middle age at a reunion of our collegiate varsity crew called him our coxswain.


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