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Before The Bell Rings

John the Baptizer appeared ... proclaiming 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 close friend of Leopold Stokowski, the famous orchestra conductor, has written that Stokowski often said to him, "Don't ask me about what was, but what is to come!" This was typical of Stokowski's attitude and approach to life. "Shortly before he died," the friend wrote, "he had signed a contract with Columbia Records to make four records a year until 1982-when he would have been exactly 100."

"Don't ask me about what was, but what is to come." St. Peter told the early Christians that the whole of their lives must be directed toward the future, toward the coming again of Christ. This is what the Advent Season and the fullness of the Christian life is about. Not only are we to be earnestly willing and praying for the end, says Peter, but also we are to work in order "to hasten it on!" In short, the Community of Christ has no other rationale, no other reason for being, than to be an instrument of, and a witness to, the coming of the Rule of God, the Kingdom of God. Do we not often fail to be the signal pointing toward that better future? Do we often seek security in the past?

In recent times we have seen a great revival of the "nostalgia industry." Old silent films are being revived and reverently viewed in the "art theatres." The "flea markets" are doing a big business in old comic books. Record shelves are stocked with excerpts from thirty- and forty-year-old radio serials and news broadcasts. Already the industry has moved through the 1950's with re-issues of "primitive" Rock Music. And, presently there is underway a nostalgic revival of the 60's.

Some farsighted entrepreneur probably is now stocking up on "Star Wars" T-shirts in anticipation of a revival of the 70's. Nostalgia can be fun, whether it is for ten years ago, or fifty, or two hundred, but we must remember that it can be dangerous to move into the future with our eyes glued to the rear-view mirror.

Some people find it a great comfort to believe that everything [...]

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