mark-1Agnus Day notes that John the Baptist scored 8 out of 10 on Gigging Musician’s list: How to be a Great Opening Act. While I am not sure what John would have thought of that, it is an interesting idea. In Mark’s Gospel we start with John the Baptist preparing the way. John is the voice in the wilderness who points not to Christ’s birth, but to his ministry. With Mark we do not get a nativity story, rather his gospel cuts directly to the heart of why Jesus needed to come and then describes his ministry.

John does what we need of him. He sets the scene for Jesus to enter, to establish his ministry. Some powerful images are evoked in this short passage from Mark: wilderness, preparation and confession. As we approach Christmas these may not be the images we are expecting to see from scripture, however they speak powerfully to the reason why we need Jesus in the first place.

Text: Mark 1: 1-8 & Isaiah 40: 1-11

Questions to ponder for Sunday:

  • Does Jesus need an opening act?
  • Do we need an opening act to receive Jesus?
  • When you think of the following words what comes to mind:
    • Wilderness
    • Preparation
    • Confession
    • Sin
    • Comfort

A Prayer for Sunday:

Lord, we do not always rush to do your will. Often we tiptoe our way into obedience, dragging old habits and mindsets with us. Help us to delight at your voice and to trust that your calling is always good news. Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever he may send you;
May he guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing, at the wonders he has shown you;
May he bring you home rejoicing, once again into our doors.

*Prayer taken from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals