Mark 1 1 – 8
The good news of Jesus Christ – the Message! – begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you; He’ll make the road smooth for you. Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!
John the Baptiser appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptised by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.
As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptising you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism – a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit – will change you from the inside out.”
Mark begins with John not Jesus. Mark knows the need for waiting. This is the time to take time. To know what it feels like to have heard the words of Isaiah year after year after year and yet have heard nothing. No prophet, no thunder, no Messiah. And yet, through faith, having to wait and wait and wait.
We have the ‘Ordinary’ times in the Church’s year when we read and learn about scripture until it becomes a comfortable tale of morality and justice, a part of how we think and who we are.
But like Easter, Advent is not an ordinary time. It is a time well worth visiting as if we didn’t know, had never heard, had no idea. So that we can become part of a history, of a longing, of a world crying with impatience for the Good News.