Loud from the wilderness a thrilling voice we hear.
“Repent, believe, the time has come. The Kingdom has come near.”
He comes in deed and word. His advent is a gate.
“Prepare the way now for the Lord. His ways must be made straight.”
Clad in a prophet’s garb and fed on what he found,
yet city folk, sophisticates, this prophet did surround.
In Jordan’s icy depths they plunged in faithfulness,
confessing sins and being cleansed lest they should be condemned.
“Flee from the wrath to come and bear repentance’ fruit.
Do not presume your ancestry will do you any good.
For God can make right here a people all his own.
An ax is lying at the root, its edge is sharply honed.”
One yet more powerful is coming after me.
With Holy Spirit and with fire his baptism will be.
The fork is in his hand, to winnow out the grain,
to gather wheat into his barn, the rest he will disdain.”
Image: Pieter Brueghel (II) – St John the Baptist Preaching, 17th Century Groeningemuseum
Source: Matthew 3:1-12
Text: David Alexander, 2007 & 2022 CC BY-SA NC 4.0
Tune: Diademata, Public Domain
Audio: www.smallchurchmusic.com Used by permission