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2nd Sunday of Advent (cycle b)

 

  

Call To Worship

L:  How shall we prepare this house for the coming King?

P:  With branches of cedar, the tree of royalty.

L:  How shall we prepare this house for the coming of our
     Savior?

P:  With wreaths of holly and ivy, telling of his passion,
     death, and resurrection.

L:  How shall we prepare our hearts for the coming of the
     Christ?

P:  By hearing again the words of the prophets, who foretold
     the saving work of God.

L:  For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn
     the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

All:  Glory to God in the Highest!

 


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Sermon Excerpt:
   
The Foundation of the Gospel
Mark 1: 1-8
by DG Bradley

To most people, we are in the Holiday Season, that time stretching from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year's Eve, a great and glorious time of Christmas shopping, buying, and decorating under the icons of Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed, and Frosty: our saints of a secular season. There are also sacred seasons and holy days that some observe. Judaism is observing Hanukkah, a minor season of eight days that recall a miracle of freedom when the Jewish people under Judas Maccabees drove out the Greek conquerors who tried to exterminate the Jewish religion. There was only enough consecrated oil to burn in the Temple for one day, but, somehow, the light burned eight days.

Christianity also has its sacred season of Advent which is much different from what is celebrated in the shopping malls. Indeed Christianity has for many centuries seen this time before Christmas not as the "Jolly Holly Thirty Days of Christmas," but as a serious and somber time of spiritual preparation for the one whose birth changed the world by changing our relationship to God our creator. What the world expects the church to celebrate is, as usual, not what the church considers its focus.

Here is an important thought. What the world expects the church to celebrate or what the world expects the church to consider important is so often not quite what the church does consider important. The world expects the church to be about right acting, right thinking, and right feeling. We have all heard Christianity defined as "I was lost in sin, now I have Jesus as my friend, and now I understand." There is some truth to this, but it is not the whole truth of Christianity. There is the troublesome problem that Jesus confronted those who equated faith and religion with right acting, right feeling, or right thinking...

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