Cry Out Like the Wilderness is Listening
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” – Luke 3:4b (NRSVUE)
If a prophet cries out in the wilderness, and there’s no one to hear the prophecy, have they really prophesied? If a person wanders around the wilderness of their house talking to themselves, thinking out loud, and there’s no one to listen, give them feedback, help them process and discern, have they really figured anything out? I’ve never done the former, but having done plenty of the latter, I’m going to say yes to both.
Sure, conversation partners help to expand our thinking and give us reality checks. But crying out into the wilderness allows us to voice uncultivated, untamed ideas, things that once said aloud can be recognized as brilliance or absurdity. Peaks and valleys are made level, rough patches smoothed, rabbit holes filled in, crooked and deceptive side trails get blocked off. The path becomes straight, preparing the way for holy things.
Crying out into the wilderness isn’t the same as screaming into a void. The void just echoes back. The wilderness listens. You can’t navigate a void. You can navigate the wilderness. At first, the wilderness appears completely uncultivated, untamed. But pause and observe the patterns and purpose, the connectedness and interdependence, the raw beauty, the flourishing of life adapted to the most adverse conditions. Even in a desert wilderness, the wilderness is alive. Shaped by our presence, it responds to our cries.
So cry out into the wilderness. The uncultivated, untamed wilderness is listening. What better place to cry out your uncultivated, untamed cries?
Hear my cries, Sacred Wilderness, and help me prepare the path for holy things. Amen.
Chris Mereschuk (he/him) is an Unsettled Pastor and the Founder of RevCJM, LLC, specializing in church vitality and Legacy consulting and coaching.