Prayer of the day - Advent 2
Merciful God, you sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: give us grace to heed their warning and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever - Amen
From the Pew Sheet, All Saints, Mitcham
Rev'd Dianne Sharrock, B. Theol
The first reading today is from the prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 40 1.11] and brings a message of hope and comfort to the people of Israel who wee in exile in Babylon. Despite their failings God is merciful and has promised them a new beginning. John the Baptist appears in the line of that great prophet and again promises Israel the chance of a new beginning if they repent and turn again towards God.
The emphasis in Mark's portrait of the Baptist is very much that of the subordinate. John's self-effacing manner makes it clear that he is not the one who is promised, but the one who is to prepare the way. The emphasis in John's preaching is non judgment, for Jesus it is salvation.
The wilderness or the desert can be a silent and frightening lace - and yet it is into this silence that both John and Jesus withdraw to pray. For them it became a place of deep intimacy with God.
Advent is also a time of new beginnings and John the Baptist's 'voice in the wilderness' is also a personal invitation to each of us to prepare a way for the Lord into our lives now. The church recognizes the need to be in a kind of wilderness and so we do not have flowers, except for the Advent wreath, no water in the font, no Gloria nor Creed and we could also use a pottery chalice, paten and candle holders.
John speaks of repentance and to repent is to have a change of heart or mind. Have you ever had a change of heart or mind over a significant person, issue or task which has led to a new approach or way of thinking?
Make time this week to spend a while in the wilderness within, listening to the voice that is there.