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Today is the 2nd Sunday of the Season of Advent 2008 Open your Bible & read in Today’s Gospel, Mark Chapter 1, Verse 1-8.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight -- "

The Gospel of Mark explodes on the scene with the arrival of John the Baptist. You could say Mark’s Gospel starts with a BANG!

Mark, which we believe is the first gospel to have been written, points us immediately to all the stories we will read in the New Testament.
The word gospel means good news, and the good news is the first thing Mark tells us about.

Second, he quotes from the book of Isaiah, a prophet of the Old Testament who was Jesus favorite (He quotes Isaiah more than any other book in his ministery), so we know that we are grounded in the belief in the one God of the Bible.

(The actual quotes are from Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3.)

And third, John tells us that our baptism starts first with repentance, which is the renunciation of all things evil we may or want to have done: the Good News about Jesus will guide us toturn our lives around towards all that is True, Good and Beautiful.

To repent is to do more than to be sorry for your sins: it means a bold turning away or turning around: firmly setting yourself in a direction that leads away from doing, saying, and believing bad things. 

John baptized and preached by the River Jordan in Palestine, showing people the harm of their ways, telling them that Jesus would follow him to save the people from their sins.

This year, we read the story of John the Baptist in two versions. Today, we read Mark's story in this year of Mark. Next Sunday, we will read the story written by John the Evangelist.

1. Who does Mark say he is writing about in verse 1?
[Mark writes, "This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God."]

2. Which prophet does Mark quote?
[Mark quotes the prophet Isaiah.]

3. What did John the Baptist wear?
[He wore clothes made of camel's hair with a leather strap around his waist.]

4. What did John the Baptist eat?
[He ate locusts (somewhat like grasshoppers) and wild honey.]

5.What does John say about his relationship to Jesus?
[John says, 'I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals."]

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