Sermon – Beginnings – Pre-Congregational Meeting Service

The early Jewish Rabbis had a method where a couple of verses or passages from seemingly disconnected placed would be brought together and examined. It would sometimes go in surprising directions. This weeks sermon felt a little like such a midrash. Being primarily a lectionary preacher, one of the goals each week is to smash together the text while being faithful to it with what is happening in life without being trite.

The lectionary is in Advent and the original herald, John the Baptist, gets his two weeks of the church year. If you sit down to read the Gospels as books and not snippets multiple times John is much more important that we think. In the Gospel of Mark, in this text (Mark 1:1-8) John announces the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And that beginning is portrayed in continuity with the past. Isaiah and the prophets tell about this beginning with a voice crying in the desert.

That gets smashed together with the contemplation of the calling of a new minister. The second part of this sermon tried to stay true to the text and to the local context. Both tied together with the call at the end for the outpouring of the spirit. A surprising blessing of a text coming from the lectionary.