First Sunday of Advent Litany – Hope
Reader One: In this season of Advent, we are here to watch and wait and pray for the coming of light into the world. We long for the day when the things of dark- ness – selfishness and greed, suffering and oppression – shall be no more.
Reader 2: LORD, BY YOUR PRESENCE, LIGHT UP THE PAST
THAT WE MIGHT LEARN FROM IT WITH THANKFULNESS. LIGHT UP THE PRESENT THAT WE MIGHT LIVE IN IT WITH LOVE. LIGHT UP THE FUTURE THAT WE MIGHT PREPARE FOR IT IN HOPE. AS WE WATCH AND WAIT AND PRAY, MAY WE BE ALWAYS READY TO ENCOUNTER THE LORD WHO IS ALREADY AND ALWAYS WITH US. AMEN
Reader 1: We light this candle for all God’s people, struggling to be bearers of hope
in a troubled world.
Reader 2:GOD, AS WE WAIT FOR YOUR PROMISE, GIVE LIGHT, GIVE HOPE.
All: A candle burns, the sign of our hope. God of hope, come to us again this Advent. May your hope live within us, burning as a light in our lives.
Scripture: Mark 1:1-11
The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[b]
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,[c]
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,[d]
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
John the baptizer appeared[e] in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He 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[f] water; but he will baptize you with[g] the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptism of Jesus
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[h] with you I am well pleased.”
This Sermon series is based on Cynthia M. Campbells’ book “Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes.” These questions are based on that book but can also be used simply from hearing the sermon or reading the scripture.
1. How do you decorate for Christmas in your home? How do your decorations indicate what you cherish? How do they reflect your family’s personality?
2. What do you think the reason is behind the lack of a Christmas narrative in Mark?
3. What do you think about the following: Mark could be called “a passion narrative with a long introduction”?
4. What do you think of the artist’s depiction of Mark’s house(at the top of the day’s devotional)? If you were creating a picture of Mark’s house, what, if anything, would you do differently? Why?
6. What issues in our present political or social context are causing you anxiety in this season? What leads you to feel despair or discouragement?
7. The author tells us that hope is to be found in the manger only because it is found first on the cross. What, in this season, is a source of hope for you?
God of grace, we give thanks for the gift of your Son. By your Spirit, grant us the sure knowledge that we need not fear the grave, for Christ was born to save! As we begin the Advent journey, make us ever more aware that our hope is not in the cradle but in the cross. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.