Saturday: Dec. 3

Mark 1:1-8 

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

            “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

                        who will prepare your way;

             the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

                        ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

             Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

            from Rev. Dennis Sparks, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ravenswood, and Exec. Director, WV Council of Churches

            My dear friends Micheal and Carmen Zoughbi have journeyed from Bethlehem to my doorstep as they travel across America talking about the disappearance of Christianity in the town where Jesus was born.

            He is not clothed in camel’s hair eating locust and wild honey, but Micheal reminds me of John the Baptist  proclaiming “the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.” His stories of the repression of his people as they are encased within a 30 foot high concrete wall, calls me to repentance.

            Bethlehem is one of the hundreds of places where people seek freedom.  My Advent prayer is that Christians will be drawn to the liberating words of Isaiah the Prophet:  “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of Lord, make the paths straight.’” 

 

Call us, O God, into the journey of liberation for all of your children.      

 

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