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This is a Day of New Beginnings (Mark 1:1-8)

Sunday, December 10: Closed due to the weather. Stay safe!

(Below are some thoughts on today’s gospel passage. – Richard)
Mark 1:1-8

Mark writes that this is “the beginning of the good news of Jesus.” Maybe its more accurate to say that this is a beginning. There were other beginnings. There were other moments you could point to, to say that God was at work bringing about good news there. When the other gospels were written later, they would start in different places.

Matthew would begin his gospel with a genealogy that traced Jesus back to Abraham.

Luke’s story would start with an announcement that a son would be born to Elizabeth and Zechariah, a son who would have the spirit and power of Elijah, and who would make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

John would open his gospel at the beginning of all things; he would start with the same “in the beginning” of Genesis.

Mark and Luke are similar, in that they both start with John the Baptist. But where Luke starts with John’s birth, Mark starts with his preaching.
Even as Mark calls this the beginning, he nods toward there being something before this beginning.

Malachi, written some 450 years before John and Jesus, said “see, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.”

Isaiah, writing even earlier than Malachi, said “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Mark says these prophets’ words tell us something about John’s ministry. And yet, we know that God didn’t just begin his work with the prophets. Before the prophets, God had begun to work with Moses. Before Moses, God had begun to work with Abraham. Before Abraham, God had begun by speaking a word, and forming creation.

God has always had a way of building on what came before, while also offering a new beginning.

We’re now in advent. In the church calendar, it means we’re at the beginning of a new year. As we always do, we began the year in advent last year too. Advent isn’t the beginning. But it is a beginning.
The good news for us today is that we can have a new beginning because of what Jesus accomplished for us in his birth, life, death, and resurrection. God’s been at work in us and in our church before today. But this season can mark the beginning of something new. We can hold onto the places where God has been at work in us already, and let go of the things that hold us back. By God’s grace, we can begin again.

Hymn: This is a Day of New Beginnings

“This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember, and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that’s gone.
For by the life and death of Jesus,
love’s mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference
as faith and hope are born again.
Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.
In faith we’ll gather round the table
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.”