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This Week's Noticesheet

9th December 2018 – Second Sunday of Advent

 

Today’s Gospel sets John the Baptist’s ministry in time and place so that there can be no doubt when, and in what context, John begins to preach his message of ‘repentance’. John quotes the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord...’ The words were originally words of hope that God would work in the lives of exiles living in Babylon and return them to their land. The Gospel writer sets these ancient words in a new context. Once again the people are called to prepare the Lord’s way. John the Baptist brings hope that God will transform the fortunes of the people anew, struggling as they are under Roman rule. John responded in his time and place, and Christ appeared at the appointed time to bring God’s transformation to the world. John recognised that these words of Isaiah were not just for those living in the time of the Exile, they were for the people of his time as well. In the same way we recognise that these words apply to us just as much as they did to the people of first-century Palestine. Indeed they apply to people of every age. As we prepare to welcome the Christ child, they challenge us again, as they do every year. John’s words challenge us as a church – how should we, as a community of Christians uniquely in this place at this time, make our preparations? What is God calling us to? Secondly, John’s words challenge us individually. Our relationship with God is unique to us and different from anybody else’s experience. God asks each one of us to consider how we should prepare this Advent, is there something specific to focus on, or a change to make? Perhaps there is a new ministry to which God is calling us. Although we can never experience each other’s lives, we can support one another as we respond to God’s call. As we hear again those words ‘PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ which speak to us here and now, and everywhere at all times, we walk together as a community in our quest ‘to make his paths straight.’

 

Ken Davey