Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gracious gift of your Son and for the forgiveness offered to us through a baptism of repentance. Remind us to always make room for you in our hearts. In your Holy name we pray, Amen.
Reading: Luke 3:1-6 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Today is the first Monday of the Advent season, and in this passage Luke tells of John the Baptist. John calls for repentance and comes before the Messiah, in this way he is very similar to the Old Testament prophets who were foretellers- they presented the Word of God to God’s people and called on them to respond. John is specifically calling for the people of God to respond with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John the Baptist is also very similar to a herald, who in ancient times would arrive in a city ahead of a king to announce his arrival and to call for the citizens to prepare the city for the King. This preparation was often extreme and could involve things such as excavation of mountains and roads so that the King’s path of travel would be optimal. John says to ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ In a way he is also saying ‘grab your shovels and clean all the junk out of your heart- repent of your sins and you will be forgiven!’
This Advent season, we are reminded of the same message. And although it seems like we are just excavating our homes as we begin to display all the Christmas decorations, we should also be excavating our hearts to make room for the gift that keeps on giving- the precious baby Jesus!
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