Lochan Fada wilderness, Wester Ross, Scotland
John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change (Mark 1:4)
God appears to have a penchant for wild places. So often it is in wilderness that God chooses to speak or intimate the nearness of divine presence. So littered is the Bible with wild people, wild places, wild journeys and wilderness experiences of mind and body that one conclusion seems inescapable: the untamed God makes meaning in wildness. Experiences of exile, exodus and exclusion take God’s people into the wild heart of life. Here we are at greatest risk, here the comforts and givens of life disappear, here we are on our own facing the ultimate questions of life and death. Just us, wilderness and God.
So John appears in the wild, his appearance and manner matching his context to perfection. And it is to the wild that seekers of life-change have to travel. John makes them journey to the place that has always been a threshold for God activity and awareness. It is where Jesus went to experience the awesome grandeur of the divine. And during Advent that is the faith-destination which beckons us too: seek out God in your wildness and in that of the world. And dare to believe that God will meet you there purposefully in love.