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This Week in Worship
Going Deeper this Week...

December 10, 2017 - Second Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8

Welcome to Milledge Avenue Baptist Church. Today is the first of the Advent Sundays centered on the ministry of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah. We hear Mark’s account of the beginning of John’s ministry and message. John is presented as the last of the Old Testament prophets and the one who embodied the role foreseen by Isaiah as the messenger to prepare the way for the coming of the Christ. He used the traditional Jewish ceremony of renewal and repentance—baptism—but promises that the one who is coming will immerse people in the Spirit of God.

Our second reading is the passage from Isaiah quoted by Mark concerning John the Baptist. This comes from the time of the end of the Jewish people’s exile in Babylon and was an exhortation to them to return to the land of promise now that they had been freed by the Persian king, Cyrus. This second Exodus is filled with the promise of God’s love and care for the people.

We live in the time in between Christ’s first Advent and his Second Coming and we gather in worship as people immersed by baptism into God’s Spirit. We are called not only to celebrate God’s presence as our shepherd but also to be messengers who, like John, announce the coming of God’s Kingdom. We do this by proclaiming the Word, by serving our neighbors, and by lives of peace and growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

From a Child’s Point of View

Many of our children have witnessed a baptism here at MABC—perhaps just a few weeks ago when Jenna Dodson was baptized by immersion. But they may not understand John the Baptist’s “Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Explain that it was a ceremony people carried out to show that they were going to make some changes in the way they lived. Underlying that baptism was, and is, the belief that we can change. Children often feel just the opposite. They feel trapped by what is demanded of them at home and school. They sense that both adults and peers expect them to behave in certain ways and would be suspicious of any changes, even for the better.

In this passage, John insists that we can make changes. He baptized with water to call his listeners (and us) to make needed changes. He promised that “the One who comes” would give the people the power of Holy Spirit so that they could make even greater changes. Help our children celebrate this power that has been given to them by Jesus! —From Forbid Them Not:  Involving Children in Worship, Year A, Carolyn C. Brown

Questions for Reflection

Mark’s Gospel announces the good news of God in Jesus Christ: God comes to turn the world right side up and baptize us with the Holy Spirit. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, what is the beginning of God’s good news in your life, and how will it change the way you approach this season of expectation and hope?

Household Prayer: Morning Household Prayer: Evening

Lord, how I love this season of new beginnings, the opportunity to turn toward you and start again.

Empower me to be a messenger of good news, and a leveling influence along the way, as I seek to be one with you in smoothing out the rough places I encounter. Amen.

Lord, you have comforted me throughout this day and rescued me from my exile.

Where I have flourished, I give you thanks; where I have erred, I ask your forgiveness. Protect me through the night that I may rest in your realm of peace where righteousness makes a home. Amen.


"There's Waiting...and Then There's Waiting"


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