Tag Archives: Beginnings

The Beginning of the Gospel…

Biblical Text: Mark 1:1-8
Full Draft Sermon

All of the canonical gospels have their own spirit, a spirit expressed often at the very beginning. This is “year B” in our three year cycle of readings, so we are in the Gospel according the Mark. Mark’s spirit is one of immediacy, of now. It is a spirit of beginnings and ending. It relentlessly presses us with the oddness of the inbreaking kingdom. And with that very wonder and strangeness invites us to begin. To prepare the way. To make the paths straight. Now. Because you know not the time. The mighty one comes right behind, and all flesh will see the glory of the Lord. This sermon is a attempt to capture that strangeness, to experience the beginning of the gospel. To hear and fear the word to make straight the paths to our hearts.

Worship note: I have left in two hymns. The one before the sermon and the one after. Both share a word – Hark! It is the call of the herald, the Baptist, listen! Important information follows. LSB 349, Hark the Glad Sound, I believe reflect the pure Gospel content of that message. The greater one comes bringing a baptism of the Spirit. A baptism that bursts the gates of brass, and make the iron fetters yield. LSB 345, Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding, captures well the immediacy of the Hark and the pressure it puts on us. “Cast away the works of darkness, all you children of the day!” And that pressure it recognizes coming from its eschatology. “So when next he comes in glory, and the world is wrapped in fear…”. Two marvelous advent hymns that happen to have a couple of wonderful tunes as well.

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ the Son of God

Sermon Text Mark 1:1-8
Full Text of Sermon

Mark’s gospel as we have it full of odd turns. He boldly states as his first words the title of this post. But the climax of the story is the cross. The demons and the Roman Centurion crucifying Jesus are the only people in the story who recognize the Son of God. Peter might see the Christ, but not the Son. The last scene is the women running confused from the tomb. A reader might ask how such a story is Good News – a Christ who is defeated, disciples who scatter, proclamation of resurrection that causes fear and flight.

It is good news because of the totality of the story. God has acted. God continues to act. God continues with beginnings. God continues guiding beginnings to proper endings. But Mark knows that those stories are not simple. There are no easy epiphanies. We hear the Christmas angels and wonder what that could mean. We read the prophets and are stupefied at times. We run with those women away from that angel in the tomb. We’ve heard the good news, but we don’t know the good news. Not in our bones. As Origen says that requires the heart, not the head. We prepare our hearts. We keep our paths straight. We live under the cross, to instruct the heart. So that we might one day know the depth of the good news of Jesus Christ – The Son of God. The Son of God who knows our beginnings, our middles and our ends.