Minnesota Episcopal
Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection

Year A, Advent 2
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary

Matthew 3: 1-12 (Standard and RCL)

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with* water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with* the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.

Reflection on Matthew 3: 1-12
by the Rev Dcn Helen B. Hanten

What other voices cry from the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord"? How do we announce God's presence in other holy places where God's nearness is felt profoundly and God speaks to us clearly?

Who cries for the wilderness in the wilderness? Protection of the creation is not just good stewardship of resources. The creation is God's gift, wonderfully made. Wildness is becoming rare and all the more to be treasured. Wildness is found where we have allowed the land to be as God created it. Let our voices be heard in defense of that wilderness.


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The Rev Helen Hanten was a deacon at and an active member of St. Andrew's by the Lake Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 1998.  Helen and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to The Rev Helen Hanten or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

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