John the Baptist, whose preaching was meant to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah, told people that the best way to prepare was to repent, which means to turn around and go the other way. They should do so, he told them, because the kingdom of heaven had come near, by which he meant that the rule of God was about to break into the world in a unique way.
O God, help us to listen to John, to your other messengers, to your Holy Spirit, and to your Book, all of which continue to call us to turn from our self-centered and self-defeating ways and to turn toward you so that we can spend the rest of our lives going to you until finally, one day, we get there.
Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, minds to perceive, and spirits to believe that in Jesus the reign of God did in fact come and does in fact continue; may our turning lead us to follow him ever more closely as we walk on the road down which you lead us.
“In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near’” (Matthew 3:1-2).