In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:1-12
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
it looks as if this might be my last letter for some time to you. We are planning on moving tonight, not very far but an hour or so to cousin Martha who has room for us. We will stay another day or two since I am slow as it is and want to see everyone we can as we travel. Our visit here with Sarah has been wonderful and I surely wish I could take my sister with me on the road. I have also enjoyed my time with Hannah and we seem to have become best friends. I thought her mama might resent our closeness but she was overjoyed having another women to occupy Hannah and to play with her. She is quite a busy child and so very smart. I know from experience it can be challenging to be a smart girl, curious about the world and wanting to learn and read everything. I look forward to a time when she is older and we can share more together.
I have had some moments lately of deep worry for both of us - dear Auntie - you and me. We have been given such a big burden to carry and I often feel inadequate for the challenge. I have no doubt that God has promised to be with us every step of the way, but some days are much harder than others. Some days I just want to be standing in the warm sun, hanging clothes with my mother and talking idly. But that is not our lot in life. We have been called to be carriers of God's good news, the frontline of God's love for the world. I gladly accept but with great fear and trembling.
Please pray for our every step as there might still be so much treachery to face.