Prepare the Way
In those days John the Baptist appeared. He was preaching in the Judaean wilderness. ‘Repent!’ he was saying. ‘The kingdom of heaven is coming!’ John, you see, is the person spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, when he said, The voice of someone shouting in the desert: ‘Prepare the route that the Lord will take, straighten out his paths!’ Matt 3:1-3
SAY These candles remind us to watch with hope and to prepare ourselves for the coming Kingdom of God. John prepared the way for Jesus by announcing the coming Kingdom of Heaven.
LIGHT two purple candles. ASK What does it mean to prepare?
SHARE To prepare means to get ready for something important; to clean up and get organized so you're ready for what's coming.
READ Isaiah 40:1-5, 11 (The Passion Translation)
Your God says to you: “Comfort, comfort my people with gentle, compassionate words. Speak tenderly from the heart to revive those in Jerusalem, and proclaim that their warfare is over. Her debt of sin is paid for and she will not be treated as guilty. Prophesy to her that she has received from the hand of Yahweh twice as many blessings as all her sins.”
A thunderous voice cries out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for Yahweh's arrival! Make a highway straight through the desert for our God!
Every valley will be raised up, every mountain brought low. The rugged terrain will become level ground and the rough places a plain.
Then Yahweh's radiant glory will be unveiled, and all humanity will experience it together. Believe it, for Yahweh has spoken his decree!”
ART Look at the picture of Mary traveling through the wilderness to announce her pregnancy to Elizabeth. What do you notice about the image? How do you think Mary was prepared for the coming of Messiah? What comfort do you see in this image?
DISCUSS Why is repentance a way to prepare for God's kingdom? How is God's forgiveness comforting to you? How can we join John in preparing for God's coming kingdom? How can you join Mary in announcing God's kingdom?
CONFESSION Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
PRAYER Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of your only Son, so that by his coming we may worship you with pure minds; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Historic Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent, Gelasian, 8th Century)
Additional Readings: Isaiah 40:5-11, Mark 1:1-8, 2 Peter 3:8-15a, Psalm 85:1-2, 8-1, Isaiah 7:10-14
Advent invites active Kingdom participation
that offers hope to a weary world.
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The artwork "On the Way" by Cody Wood can be viewed digitally or printed for non-commercial use only. We recommend printing on heavy card stock for best viewing.
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