REFLECTION BY CATHERINE HEWITT
A voice of one calling: “ In the desert prepare the way for the Lord, make straight in the wilderness a
highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough
ground shall become level, and the rugged places plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.” Isaiah 40 v 3-5.
I am told that in the case of home decorating, preparation is key. Sanding down rough patches, filling
holes and dents and treating knots in the wood, so that they don’t exude brown bubbles the
moment your back is turned — they’re all crucial before one even flirts with the paintbrush! It made
me remember needlework lessons in school, when I couldn’t see the point of tacking if pins could do
the job equally well — but I had to give in to a higher authority, pin first, tack second and sew at long
last, at Cardiff High for Girls Miss Dore reigned supreme!
Jesus, it would seem, was pie hot on preparation. He had thirty years of “life experience“ before he
embarked on his ministry, growing up in a family, learning a trade and absorbing the teachings and
traditions of his Jewish heritage. His cousin, John, prepared the ground for him, encouraging people
to repent and seek a new way and finally baptising Jesus who heard the amazing words from his
Father in heaven, “ You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
One of the emphases of his ministry was to urge people to be ready for God’s kingdom to come —
he told a story about a group of virgins whose lamps weren’t ready for the bridegroom’s arrival and
the dire consequences that followed. He prepared his disciples for both the horror of the crucifixion
and the joy of the resurrection and reassured them that he would be going to prepare a place for
them in his Father’s house. After the resurrection he appeared to his disciples to show he was truly
alive and prepare them for his final commission to them, “ Therefore go and make disciples of all
There had been nothing random about Jesus’ life’s work; preparation had been in hand since before
his birth, at his birth, in Simeon’s recognition of him in the Temple and later, in childhood, in his
engagement with the Temple teachers at Jerusalem. It continued right up to the events of Holy
Week and finally the ascension.
It remains for us to ask ourselves how we make preparation to be followers of Jesus. We perhaps
can try looking at our lives through the Jesus lens and try to grasp what it really means to prepare
throughout Lent for Good Friday and then Easter, rather than, in my case, fretting over the absence
of Cadbury Dairy Milk!!