The Second Sunday in Advent

those who dream...Prepare the way (peace)

focal scriptures Mark 1:1-8 | Isaiah 40:1-11 | Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Big Idea: John the Baptist calls the crowds into the journey of repentance and transformation. Similarly, we
are called to prepare the way for God’s message of love and liberation to be shouted, heard, and
received. Those who dream make way for righteousness and peace to kiss, for faithfulness to spring
up from the ground (Ps. 85:10-11).

Guiding Questions:
* Imagine yourself as one moving with the crowds, retreating to the margins of the wilderness to seek repentance and change. What risks are involved in your decision to respond to John the Baptist’s cries? What are you leaving behind? What are you sacrificing? And how, through the power of baptism, are you transformed?
* What are real life examples of preparing the way?
* When has a dream interrupted or re-routed your life?
* John the Baptist had a dream—but it wasn’t his to fulfill. What dreams have you helped to pass along, knowing you couldn’t fulfill them entirely? How can the Church prepare the way for God’s dreams to continue for generations to come?

Quotes & Resources for Inspiration

“The call to repentance is a call to those who are hurting us to cease and desist. It is a peace order of sorts—
and an amnesty program. Those who have trespassed against us are being offered a chance to stop. When
they take advantage of that opportunity, we find our own respite. Repentance means not just stopping the
current trajectory but also turning back, addressing the damage left in one’s wake, and vowing never to go
down that road again. When our oppressor repents, we can be free. . . . John prepares for us the way for the
Lord. Like a prophetic GPS device, he highlights not only the route for us to take but also the place for the
Lord to come in, telling us when we need to make a U-turn.”
—T. Denise Anderson. “December 6, Advent 2C (Luke 3:1-6).” The Christian Century. November 24, 2015.

“Preparing the Lord’s path means challenging systems and structures that we have institutionalized
as normal but that God condemns as oppressive and crooked. It means clearing the path of self-
aggrandizement, self-absorption, and greed to make way for a community where all of creation is valued.”

—Traci Blackmon. “Preparing the Way for Justice.” Alliance for Fair Food. December 9, 2018.

“At Advent, God’s people summon the courage and the spiritual strength to remember that the holy breaks
into the daily. In tiny ways, we can open our broken hearts to the healing grace of God, who opens the
way to peace. May that peace come upon us as a healing balm, as a mighty winter river, gushing and
rushing through the valleys of our prideful fear and our own self-righteous indignation. . . . And so we do not
lose heart; rather, we live with our hearts broken open so that compassion, caring, and God’s reckless love
can find a way into our hearts and the heart of the world. Make straight in our hearts a highway for the
possibility of peace.”
—Patricia E. De Jong. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 1. Advent Through Transfiguration. David L. Bartlett and
Barbara Brown Taylor, Editors. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008. 4, 6.