Dis yah de Good Nyews bout Jedus Christ, God Son. De Good Nyews staat like how God prophet Isaiah done write, weh e say,“God say, ‘A gwine sen me messenja head ob yafa open op de way fa ya.’Somebody da holla een de wildaness say,‘Oona mus cleah de road weh de Lawd gwine come shru.Mek de pat scraight fa um fa waak!’ ”John beena bactize people een de wildaness. E beena preach say, “Ef oona change oona sinful way an dohn do um no mo, A gwine bactize oona an God gwine paadon oona fa de ebil oona done.” A heapa people fom dey een Judea lan an fom Jerusalem city gone fa yeh John. Dem people fess op bout ebil ting dem dey beena do fo ebrybody wa been dey. Den John bactize um een de Jerden Riba.John cloes been mek wid camel hair, an de belt roun e wais been mek wid animal hide. E beena nyam locust an wild honey. E taak ta de people say, “Atta A done me wok, one man wa hab heap mo tority den me gwine come. A ain fit eben fa stoop down an loose e shoe. A da bactize oona wid wata, bot e gwine bactize oona wid de Holy Sperit.”
Mark 1: 1-8, De Nyew Testament, in Gullah Sea Island Creole
Go back and read that again.
Now go back and reread it out loud.
A few years ago, I was given a copy of De Nyew Testament, by a classmate from my doctoral cohort. He sent it to me in the mail. I excitedly began to devour the text over the next few days. I made my way through Matthew, and then I came to Mark. I read this first line in my head, “Dis yah de Good Nyews bout Jedus Christ, God Son.”
I stopped. I had to say that out loud.
“Dis yah de Good Nyews bout Jedus Christ, God Son.”
Now, I am ashamed to admit that the Gospel of Mark was for many years last on my list of beloved books of the Bible. Really for no other particular reason than I find John so much more poetic, Luke a bit more compassionate, and Matthew more musical. Mark is too fast for me. It’s the Gospel in action movie form, and my imagination likes more scenery. I love Charles Dickens. So there you go. But that day, for me, the Gospel of Mark became transformed. I continued to read on, and when Mark quotes Isaiah’s words, “‘Oona mus cleah de road weh de Lawd gwine come shru. Mek de pat scraight fa um fa waak!’ ” I began to cry. (Disclaimer, I am a skinny white girl of various ethnic origins, none I whom, I am fairly certain, spoke Gullah, so if you heard me read this passage aloud, you might be crying for quite another reason. But I digress…) Mark’s gospel was unlocked. Something lit up inside me that day. A road cleared for the Lord to come through to my heart, a path that formerly was a bit rocky was made straight so that He could walk upon it.
As we are traveling through this Advent season, I am praying that we all may be listening for those voices crying aloud in the wilderness. They may come from strange places. It may come from a man whose “cloes been mek wid camel hair, an de belt roun e wais been mek wid animal hide. E beena nyam locust an wild honey.” The voice may speak a language other than our native tongue. If we are listening, if we hear and take heed, that voice will make the paths of our heart straight for Christ to enter.
E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.
This post was written by Nicki