As you have been blessed by the gift of God in the coming of Christ at Advent, please consider how your giving for the Christmas Offering to support Regional Ministry may bless the whole Church and world.  You may give through your local Disciples congregation, or at www.wvdisciples.org/support.  Congregations of the WV Region’s congregations whose members give online will still receive credit for the gift for Yearbook outreach reporting.

Sunday: Dec. 7               Read 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. Sarah Webb

Wheeling, WV

Mark’s Gospel doesn’t mess around. It cuts right to the chase: “I am sending my messenger ahead of you … Prepare the way of the Lord.” John the Baptizer was that strange herald, appearing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance. Right at the beginning we are instructed to turn back. Clear the way. Make your paths straight. Lighten your load. Get ready. “Someone more powerful than I is coming,” and you have work to do.

Advent brings the glow of candles and a glint in the eyes of the hopeful. But it is also a time to take stock and clean the cupboards of our lives. There is an urgency in these words: urgent, because they are important. And if they are important, why not now? Come clean, you children of baptism. That watermark you wear is a reminder of who and whose you are. What obstacle stands in your way of having life more abundantly? The restlessness inside may be a far off voice calling from the wilderness.

O God of the Ages, you name us into being and you baptize us with Spirit.

Call our hearts back to your heart, as we make room inside again. Amen.

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