Mark 1:1-8 (The Message)

Mark 1

John the Baptizer


 1-3The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. 

   Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you; 

   He’ll make the road smooth for you. 
   Thunder in the desert! 
   Prepare for God’s arrival! 
   Make the road smooth and straight!

 4-6John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

 7-8As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

So today finds me with at least a cold, which means church as a no go.  So I have to draw on my own creative juices to reflect on the Second Sunday of Advent.  Last week we saw hope in the coming of Christ, this week I see something more of expectancy.  In the various sources that are available on Advent they almost all agree on the first candle representing Hope, the remaining three candles can me any number of things, including Biblical characters, or events.  For today’s reflection I chose John the Baptist, who prepares the way, which is where I see today as a Sunday of expectancy.

I tried to find a good image of John the Baptist but the pickings, at least to my standards, were slim.  Most of the art is either the Baptism of Jesus, or the beheading of John the Baptist.  Or just a saintly image.  Any photographs that may be described as living art remind me too much of Monty Python.  So I suppose you will have to create your own picture here.  

Let me help… Imagine Ryan, coming out of the woods at you, wearing a camel hair dress, with a leather belt.  He carries with him his lunch, in a sachel, consisting of locusts and wild honey.  Come to think about it, it’s not that hard of an image to imagine.  But I digress.

John the Baptist came to prepare the way of Jesus, speaking of forgiveness of sins, and apparently this was good news because thousands flocked to him to confess their sins and be baptized.  I doubt it was his handsome appearance, but more of the message that he was bringing.  The message of the coming of Christ.

This week, imagine yourself as a sort of John the Baptist.  I’m not asking you to eat locust, but I sure do love honey.  Spread the news of the coming of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, and life in the New Kingdom.