Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Building the Highway

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

Building the Highway

Article excerpt

Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15; Mark 1:1-8

It is little help to see the prophet as a prognosticator or a soothsayer. The prophet's standard declaration falls more along these lines: "If you do A, B will happen. I am calling you to do C, so that D will happen instead." The prophet doesn't say a highway will show up, but, rather, cries out, "prepare the way of the Lord" and make straight "a highway for our God" (Isaiah 40:3).

Bob Dylan's Highway 61 is forever revisited, and folks still get their kicks on Bobby Troup's Route 66 because layers of memory and tradition have evolved from these well-worn thoroughfares. The righteous route proclaimed in Isaiah and echoed in Mark's gospel is cosmological in scope and must be rebuilt in each new era of salvation history. It is constructed by, and among, peoples who offer confession and accept forgiveness, who realize atrocities and call for a realignment with God's justice.

Sometimes prophetic utterance comes as a divine oracle offering assurance of God's blessing, as in the case of our psalm. …

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