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getting out the WORD - the third sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 11:41

the PRAYER...
Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

John 1:6-8 , John 1:19-28

the DEVOTION...
Like I've said before, John - the gospel-writer - marches to a different beat. He tells the story of Jesus like all the rest, but he tells it his own way. Take, for instance, this week's reading...

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John is identified as "the baptizer." Never in the gospel according to. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the baptizer proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Not so in the book of John. In Matthew and Luke, the baptizer preaches an axe at the roots and a winnowing fork in hand. In John's good news, not a word is written.

In the 'fourth' gospel, John - "the baptizer" - has one purpose and one purpose alone. Not proclaiming unquenchable fire. Or for that matter, even baptizing. It's to witness! To testify! To point at Jesus and say, "Behold! God's Lamb! The one who takes away the sin of the world!" And we - the church - do the same. NOT make threats! NOT issue ultimatums! NOT, even, exhort people to bear fruit. Sharing the extra. Collecting no more. Refusing to extort! We're here, simply, to point at Jesus! Point at Jesus and tell the world, "This is the one!" And Jesus takes it from there!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the second sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 15:37

the PRAYER...
Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[John the baptizer] 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."

Mark 1:1-8

the DEVOTION...
I can't, even, begin to imagine what it must have been like. The destruction. The devastation. The scar it left on the soul of the nation. Five, six centuries before Jesus, Babylon had laid siege to Jerusalem. Over the next two years, their grip tightened. But at last, the walls crumbled. The city plundered. The people slaughtered. Jerusalem razed to the ground. The privileged, the powerful, led away in chains to spend decades in captivity. And as if that hadn't been enough, they believed that god had abandoned them. Turned and walked away. Spirit gone. Prophets silent. One generation... Two... Ten... Twenty-five... All the while, they waited... and they waited... and they waited...

But then, John appears in the wilderness! No judgment. No threats. Not in Mark. Nothing about axes or winnowing forks or unquenchable fire. Instead there's only the message! Only the Gospel! Only good news! Even now, John shouts, god is coming! After all this time, god is returning! Lift up your heads! Open your eyes! And look!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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