We will begin a new lectionary year this weekend at St. Mark Presbyterian with the first Sunday of Advent. This is a season of active waiting and hopeful anticipation, but outside of a few candy calendars, it is almost entirely overlooked in our culture. My biggest (liturgical) new year’s resolution is to provide congregation members and guests with the opportunity to engage the text in new and creative ways throughout the week. Too often, we hear the biblical passage and sermon on Sunday and quickly forget the words and message as other responsibilities fill our minds and calendars.
I look forward to providing a “review and recap” story every Tuesday and a “coming attraction” post every Thursday. Please feel to share your thoughts as we keep the worship service going during Advent.
I am preaching from Mark’s gospel over the next several weeks, but there are several moving lectionary passages from other parts of the Bible that are worth exploring throughout the week. This passage from the prophet Isaiah is particularly rich as we look forward to Christmas and to Christ’s triumphant return.
Questions to Consider
1. The images of “tearing open the heavens” and “mountains quaking” are particularly intense. Why do you think the prophet chose these words and images? Where else in the Bible do we hear about tearing?1 What does this say about God’s relationship with humanity?
2. We are in a leaf raking season here in St. Louis. Do you ever feel like a faded leaf carried away by the strong winds of sin? Why are we more likely to sin when we don’t feel like God is close? What can you do over the next month to be more intentionally holy?
3. The passage ends with several familiar and comforting images for God. Do the images of Father, Potter, or Lord resonate with you? Why or why not?
4. Read through Mark 13 for this weekend’s sermon. What similarities does it have with Matthew 24-25? What differences? Does it fill you with fear or hope?
Pastor Dave Burgess
Pastor Dave Burgess