It is hard to know if we are hearing or reading the “The Word of God” unlessthe Bible is being read. When we do so, we can easily say without hesitation,“Thanks be to God.” Otherwise, we find ourselves thinking long and hard to decide if anything we are hearing or reading merits our attention. We can easily dismiss what does not fit into our view of the way life ought to be. We run the information we receive through all the filters of our cultural and socio-economical background to make sure it fits into our belief system. We even do this with the Bible. It has been said we, “Cherry pick the verses of the Bible to validate our beliefs.” We are suspicious of others interpreting information of any kind whether it is politics, theology, climate change, race relations, sexual issues, immigration, economy, or any of the issues of life we have already categorized into our systems of beliefs as being the only way to understand them.
This all begs the question of who are those meeting qualifications for receiving God’s word? Having to be careful about being “Politically correct”, not being “Inflammatory”, or just not “Rocking the boat”, are these some concerns we should have about being in a position for God’s word to come our way?
To get some perspective, the names Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip,Lysanias, Annas, and Caiaphas represented the power of the state and the influence of established religion in their day. The word of God bypassed all of these and “came to John son of Zachariah in the wilderness.” If John is “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:” and if this means God’s word was searching for the alienated, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed, then we would do well to identify our own wilderness during this Advent season, connect with our fellow strugglers, and listen for the word of God coming our way so that, “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”