A Voice Cries Out


Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

[Isaiah 40:1-5]

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Seated Male Youth (Study for Daniel). The Morgan Library & Museum.

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Seated Male Youth (Study for Daniel). The Morgan Library & Museum.

Wondrous as this divine speech may be, the miracle is that someone listens.

A voice cries out. Echoes of the Almighty declare the hidden plans of heaven, plans for a new Exodus that will bring God’s wounded and scattered people home. Who can hear this message? Not the myriads cycling through mindless patterns of triviality, nor the mass of men deafened by the silent walls of their desperation. Not those feverishly buying and selling, or so intently checking off lists that they so completely check themselves out. Not those who deny or are denied a respite from the clamoring demands ringing from within or without.

A voice cries out, but to reach the people, someone needs to hear it. Someone willing and able to walk in the margins to save those languishing in the middle of the road. Someone whose listening becomes speech unto itself, proclaiming the journey that awaits, the punishments that will be lifted, the twisted roads soon to be paved straight and clear. To reach the plurality, heaven’s message only needs a single person, in a single moment, to listen, so that others may hear: “Comfort, comfort, you my people.”

A voice of heaven cries out…

This Advent, do what you can to hear it.  And if you cannot, pray for the ones who listen.


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