Preparing with Mark – December 1

(click on caret to listen to the sermon)

Series: Advent with the Gospels
Sermon: Preparing with Mark
Text: Mark 1:1-8

Rev. Laura Brewster

Introduction
The four-week season of Advent gives us time to consider what Christ’s arrival meant for the world. It also gives us time to consider how we can welcome Christ into our hearts and lives and world all over again.

Scripture – Mark 1:1-8
The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, 2 happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah: Look, I am sending my messenger before you. He will prepare your way, a voice shouting in the wilderness; “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straighf.” 4 John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people tobebaptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins….

Mark Begins by Urginq Us to Prepare to Meet Jesus
Mark makes it clear that something big is happening, and we need to ready ourselves now.

Preparinq Our Hearts
Part of clearing out a space for God in our heart and our lives involves doing some inner work. This is work that begins by confessing our sins and accepting God’s forgiveness. It is work that involves asking the Holy Spirit to help us walk in a new way so that we are not making the same mistakes over and over again.
Question: As you consider this aspect of preparation, what is a behavior or sinful attitude you need to confess and change so that you can stay on a straight path?
The inner work we need to do won’t be completed in one moment. We must continue to be in conversation with God about what is in our hearts and lives that is serving as a roadblock between ourselves and God. This means that we must carve out time for God in our busy schedules.
Question: Do I need to eliminate activities from my schedule so that I have enough time for God this season?

Preparing a place in our world
Preparation means more than clearing out time on our calendar and spending quiet alone time to prepare ourselves for a fresh and meaningful encounter with God. Mark isn’t simply encouraging us not just to carve out a channel for God to come to us; Mark is likewise rnging us to become a vehicle through which God’s love can be shared in a dyn4mic and real fashion with others.
Question: Is God urging me to share his love with a specific person today?

Conclusion
The book of Mark opens abruptly. We don’t find a narrative about the birth of Christ, a visit from wisemen, stars or angels. We do find a voice in the wilderness urging us to “Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight.” In the words of Magrey deVega, this story doesn’t sound much like Christmas, but it does sound like Advent. Christmas is coming. Are you ready to get ready?