Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.


Sunday 8th December 2019
Second Sunday of Advent, Year A
Isaiah 11: 1-10     Romans 15: 4-9     Matthew 3: 1-12

Grubby Prophets.

We’ve all seen them somewhere or other. Perhaps outside a football stadium carrying a placard. Maybe walking up and down the High Street with a sandwich board. Or sometimes in a park or at Speakers’ Corner when they take on the whole world and threaten disaster to those who don’t listen. You can call them religious nuts or fanatics, bible bashers or God botherers, but they never go away. They may be well-to-do. They may be down at the heel. But what unites them is their conviction of the need to change the way we behave and to start living a life which is more committed to God.

And if we find them embarrassing, these grubby prophets, we are not the first to do so. John the Baptist was considered something of an eccentric in his day. Someone living out in the desert wilderness, dressed in camel hair and eating locusts and wild honey was bound to attract attention. People went in droves to listen to his rantings. It was even greater fun when he went for the jugular of the religious leaders. He was no soft touch; he even questioned the motives of those who decided to follow him. And when he started ducking people in the river, it must have been quite a spectacle.

But prophets don’t tell the future. They just speak on behalf of God. And the urgent message which John the Baptist delivers is that the Lord is coming to visit his people, and those who are looking forward to this visit need to get ready for it. To prepare a way for the Lord means that we must give God a chance. It means that we have to take stock of the way that we are living and accept that there are areas which need changing. To make the Lord’s paths straight means that we cannot keep putting things off until tomorrow. If we believe, we must act. We must be ready for whenever Christ may call. Prophets are a nuisance. But we need them; even today.




Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019