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Vox Clamantis in Deserto -- The Voices of Advent


Vox clamantis in deserto

I vividly remember a sign that was on the door of one of the classrooms in my high school.  The sign read Vox clamantis.  I had been fascinated with Latin since I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and this Latin phrase Vox clamantis quickly attracted my attention.  But there was a problem, I didn’t know what it meant.  The classroom was the domain of Doctor William Turpin of blessed memory.  Mr. Turpin, as he preferred to be called, was a Rhodes Scholar who taught Latin, Greek, English literature, and Computer Programming (yes, that’s correct, Computer programming -- as a hobby).  Mr. Turpin was also a devoted Episcopalian.  One day, I worked up the courage to ask him what does the sign on the door mean in English.  With a wry smile he says, “’A Lone Voice Crying Out in the wilderness’. And that’s what I feel like most of the time. A voice in the wilderness.” And he walked away.

Vox clamantis in deserto. How often do you feel like a lone voice crying out?  What are the deserted places, the wildernesses, in your life?

In Advent, we are invited to prepare to receive Jesus Christ once again, and this preparation has a dual focus.  At one level, we prepare to hear again the story of the birth of the Son of God and to contemplate how that act continues to impact our lives today.  On another level, we prepare for Christ’s Second Coming when once and for all this world will be fully restored in God.  To aid our preparation, we hear various voices at Advent chief among them John the Baptizer the one at the root of Vox clamantis in deserto.

John the Baptizer was truly a lone voice crying out in the desert.  His voice cried out against injustice.  His voice cried out against the excesses of this world.  His voice cried out against the inequality that plagues humanity.  His voice cried out to the one who would suffer for our sake so that all may truly be made new. His voice fell on many deaf hears.

Yet, John’s voice does not have to continue to cry alone.  We can hear his voice and rather than ignore, engage.  We can hear his voice and rather than wait for someone else to come along to make a difference, step out and begin making a difference ourselves.  We can hear his voice and turn our attention away from selfish desires and turn anew to Jesus and his desires.

Let us use our Advent time, the time before our Christmas celebrations, to hear the lone voices crying out – the voices of the hungry, the cold, the marginalized, the abused, the forgotten, the oppressed.  May we, having heard these voices, not leave them in the wilderness, but help bring them into the light of the Living Christ upon whom all our faith our hope our love is founded.  May we move from the Vox Clamantis in deserto to joining in the heavenly chorus proclaiming Gloria in excelsis Deo – glory to God in the highest.


 The Reverend Grant Ambrose

Advent and Christmas Services 2017 Brochure
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