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Is Your Radio On?

John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance
Mark 1:1-8

Sermon Topic Repentance

Sermon Week Second Sunday of Advent Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 1:4


A man was fishing on a river bank at an isolated spot where he was certain no one would see him. Suddenly, out of the bushes, a stranger appeared. "Have you had any luck?" the stranger asked politely. "I sure have," said the fisherman. "I caught twenty-one pickerel, sixteen bass and a half-dozen catfish." "That's very interesting," the stranger replied. "Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Jones. And I'm the toughest game warden in this State." "Pleased to meet you" the fisherman replied. "My name is Smith, and I'm the biggest liar in this State."

In today's Gospel Lesson, Mark begins his Gospel with the story of John the Baptizer, God's messenger whose voice cried out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, Mark says, "preaching a baptism of repentance" (Mk. 1:2,3,4).

And so once again we encounter that Biblical word we all know and love so well. Repent!: that's music to our ears. I can see it in your smiling faces. I can feel the joy radiating through this entire space. And if I keep this up I'll probably qualify as the biggest liar in the country. The truth is that the subject of repentance is a turn-off. We'd rather talk about something else.

During the early days of the "Cold War," there was a story about Josef Stalin in which the Soviet Dictator is flying from Leningrad to Moscow. The plane passes over a particularly desolate area and Stalin reaches into his pocket and throws out a ruble. "That will make some poor peasant down there happy," he says to others on the plane. One of Stalin's "yes-men" thinks that is a wonderful idea. "Why not throw out five rubles and make five poor peasants happy?" he asks. Stalin replies, "Why not ten rubles?" "Why not fifty?" says the yes-man. Stalin thinks that is a great idea. The excitement grows as the rubles start raining down on the poor peasants -- until, in his exuberance, Stalin's "yes-man" blurts out, "Sir, why don't you [...]

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