Christmas and Epiphany
Sundays after Pentecost
The Revised Common Lectionary
The Bible on-line (including New Revised Standard version)
"Breakthrough" - A Weekly Gospel Exploration
Matthew in the Margins
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The Gospel of Mark
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' " John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 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. Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 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. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Gathered in 'church', most congregations look surprisingly like pages of Scripture. All set in lines, row upon row. Here a stop. There a comma, An exclamation! A question or two?? But a congregation's life is lived mainly outside all these rows of pews and aisles, and Scripture itself arises from that outside life far more than from what goes on inside synagogue or church.