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A Voice Crying

A Voice Crying

By David G. Duggan
Special to Virtueonline
August 9, 2021

My college's motto was "A Voice Crying in the Wilderness," or "Vox Clamantis in Deserto" in Latin if you prefer. One of the few Old Testament verses repeated word for word in the New (Isaiah 40:3; John 1:23), it identifies a herald, one pointing the way through uncharted territory.

The desert of my college was not the arid landscape of ancient Sinai, Judea and points East but a bucolic New England town. Still the place was far removed from cities and airports, highways and seaports. Some there have used its location as a rostrum to point the way toward truth.

There is something about a wilderness, or desert if you prefer, that commends reflection. Stuck somewhere north of nowhere you wonder how you got there and what will lead you out. For some it will be the four years of college, or a term of military enlistment, or a relationship that has dried up and become bitter.

Wilderness is also a place of deprivation. Food and water are scarce, pathways hard to find, and skin-searing heat and bone-chilling cold follow as night follows day. But it is also a place of refuge. Few go into the wilderness to stay and fewer survive. Whether a hideout, an endurance contest or a place removed from the distractions of abundance, the desert, and our search for it show how God works: not in thunderclaps and lightning bolts, but in the austere serenity of denial.

Wilderness is therefore a place of transformation, where we remember where we were and look for a place yet to come. That place, heralded by the voice of one crying, is the truth of the world's salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

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