The reading for today is Mark 1:1-15.
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; 3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
This is the beginning of the good news. And isn’t our faith life always beginning again, over and over? We celebrate Christ’s resurrection every Sunday and hear God’s promises at the table, the same every week. Our church year starts over again each First Sunday of Advent. Every time we dip our fingers in the baptismal waters and draw the sign of the cross on our foreheads, we remember that God is beginning again in our lives, always making us new.
And we are always in need of a new beginning. Every time we hear the gospel, we realize our need to repent and believe all over again. Thank goodness we have a God who, as Martin Luther puts it in the catechism, “constantly sustains our bodies, souls, and lives.” Every morning when we wake up, we have a new beginning, and the risen Christ is proclaiming to us that God is near, our repentance will be accepted, and that we are beloved by God.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we thank you for your presence in our lives and for new beginnings. Though we continually wander from you, you are always offering us a new beginning in your eternal love for us and for creation. Amen.
Prayer Concern: For those who feel that they have hit a dead-end.