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A True Visionary

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance
Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11; Psalm 85:9-14; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

Sermon Week Second Sunday of Advent Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 1:4

Major James Nesmith was a man who had a vision for improving his golf game. Just an average player, he developed a unique method of transforming his vision into reality. But for seven years he didn't play even a single hole. He didn't touch a golf club or step onto a course. Ironically, it was during this seven-year break that Major Nesmith came up with his amazingly effective technique for improving his game — an approach we can all learn from. And the first time he set foot on a golf course after his seven-year layoff, he shot an astonishing seventy-four. Using only his mind, he slashed twenty strokes off his previous best of ninety-four.

While that accomplishment alone will pique the interest of the golfers here today, the truly remarkable part of the story is that Major Nesmith spent those seven years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. During those seven years, he saw no one, spoke to no one, experienced no physical contact with anyone. And during those dark, dark days he realized he needed to occupy his mind or he would lose it. So he learned how to visualize.

In his mind, he had a vision of a splendid golf course and began playing a full eighteen holes every day -- right down to the smallest detail. He dressed, smelled the grass, and surveyed the trees. He experienced different weather conditions, and, in this creative mode, he followed the course from hole-to-hole. He felt the grip of the club. He practiced his downswing and his follow-through. It was as though he were physically on the course. And, it took him just as long to play the virtual course as it would in reality. Seven days a week, four hours a day, eighteen holes, for seven years! In a very real sense, we can say Major Nesmith was a true visionary who spent seven years in a penitentiary preparing for the day he would be released from captivity.

For us, one way to prepare appropriately for the coming of Christ in this Advent Season is to serve time [...]

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