The shortest distance between two points is a straight line … or so they say.
It was Christmas, and at the conclusion of a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixings, my mother-in-law placed a freshly cut cherry pie before me. “I know you love pie,” she said, “so I made this one especially for you.”
The smile on her face was as gooey and dripping with sugar as the pie itself. With her eyes fixed on me as I took the first bite, my ensuing smiles of approval and seeming borderline spiritual experience with every bite, took her to that holiday plane where true satisfaction and joy comes from bringing peace, love and joy into the world through every bite of her cooking.
It wasn’t until years later, and more pieces of pie than I care to remember, that she learned that while I like pie, I don’t like cherry pie.
By then, however, our relationship was so deeply rooted in love and respect that the roundabout journey to the truth didn’t matter. Or did it?!
How many pies did she make over those years? How much time and love did she spend baking them just for me? How many pieces of pie did I have to endure instead of enjoy?
You see, this is what John the Baptist was, and is trying to tell us. He’s trying to point out to them, and us, that when it comes to a relationship with God, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
That is, stop the roundabout journeys from sin and rebellion to reconciliation, and instead, repent, be washed clean in the waters of baptism, and experience here and now the reconciliation and “salvation of God.”
Therefore, in this season of Advent, it is my hope and challenge for us all, to heed the voice of the one “crying out” in the desserts of our sinful lives, and in straight and short order, fall to our knees before God our Father, repent and receive God the Son, be washed clean by the spiritual waters of God the Holy Spirit, and enjoy now, and for everlasting, the new life of the Kingdom of God. Amen! Amen! Amen!