Willie Nelson recorded a song a few years ago that spoke of a longing for the return of heroes to their rightful place. It says, the world’s done gone crazy and it seems to get worse every day so come on back Jesus and pick up John Wayne on the way!
Each of us has heroes, probably one if not both of those that Willie mentions but we also have heroes that are unique to our own lives and family stories. Parents and grandparents, teachers and coaches, kind pastors and men and women we admired who helped us to feel safe in times of trouble or hopeful in times of uncertainty or when we doubted we could make it on our own. The current pandemic has presented just such a time. And this Sunday recalls a hero, John the Baptist. He lived in a physical wilderness and lived on what he had at hand. And then he came and preached to people who were in another sort of wilderness… an isolation and fear that comes from feeling hopeless and powerless. He calls us to reach out with what we have… a phone call or brief note to a shut in or person grieving alone… words of encouragement to people struggling financially, maybe a gift of food if you are able… to encourage a child or grandchild in their studies during the present uncertainties… to say thank you to people providing essential services… in doing this you bring back John the Baptist… and pick up Jesus on the way!