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Year B, Advent 2, 2017 – Upheaval for Peace

December 7, 2017 / Molly Douthett / Advent

Hey all! If we truly preach these texts for this week – the Sunday when we explore the traditional Advent theme of “peace” – our pulpits may explode. The activity in each selection is far from pacific; in Isaiah, the earth itself is heaving around, the grass and flowers are wilting, and roadways are being forcibly straightened. Meanwhile in 2 Peter, all the elements are being dissolved by fire! Mark presents John the Baptist coming out of the wilderness preaching repentance and quoting Isaiah. I don’t see much material here that we could turn into lullabies for bedtime. And maybe that’s the problem; it isn’t the disruptive material in the Scripture passages, but our definition of peace. Peace isn’t soft breezes and warm sunshine and chirping birds and children laughing. Peace is a shepherd searching for the lost members of the flock and finding them and bringing them home after they’d been scattered by destructive forces. Peace is a frazzled, unwashed prophet proclaiming the true source of security is not coming from our systems and safeguards but from the Holy One. In Advent, peace is about what comes in the midst of all the carnage. Based on all the information bombarding us daily about the unrest in our world, I want this kind of peace. Let’s go see what we can find in our readings for Sunday.


This week’s texts are:

Isaiah 40:1-11 [01:59]

These words of comfort from the prophet are spoken to a people who have had their world crumble before their very eyes. If we have experienced a similar foundation-cracking change, we understand how sweet these words can be. But the comfort spoken to people sitting in the ashes of their past also calls them to look for what God is going to do for the future. In EYE smart, we have some links to high and low places in West Virginia and some links to the geographic and historic site of The King’s Highway running east of the Jordan River. We did not include MATH smart in the podcast, but did find some interesting information about road engineering. (Disclosure: my father was a civil engineer and would have loved this stuff!) We included a bit of WORD smart in BODY smart by exploring the definition of the word “comfort” = a deep breath. MUSIC smart of course includes Handel’s Messiah, and we have provided links to verses. And for SELF smart, we have a link to a story by Todd Weir about how high and low places are leveled out in our own hearts.  


 2 Peter 3:8-15a [09:20]

This selection from the letter sounds like we are walking into a room where someone has been having a discussion with someone else about what will happen at the end of time. The first verses keep with the motif of life as we know it disappearing in a fiery wrath ball of wrathful fire. Notice that how once it is all burned away, “everything that is done on [earth] will be disclosed”. That should give some pause while others may find satisfaction. But then the tone changes from the ashes and smoke to a question of how the faithful are to live until that day. I think that’s where I’ll be preaching this week! At any rate, in EYE smart, we have links to experiments with fire and wonder how big the space will need to be for everyone to come to repentance. We did not use BODY smart, but the link provided matches the question about perceived speed that we did talk about in NATURE smart. In PEOPLE smart, we have a link to an article that parallels the patience required of parents and God’s patience.

  • Smarts – Eye [11:42], Math [15:06], Nature [15:51], People [17:14]
  • 2 Peter 3 worksheet
  • Links in 2 Peter
    • EYE smart –
    • BODY* smart –
      • Vs 9 – Star Trek (TOS) episode Wink of an Eye in which the Scalosians are hyperaccelerated. The idea is to use this to illustrate the perception of movement referred to by the author of 2 Peter. See the NATURE link right below.
    • NATURE smart –
    • PEOPLE smart –
      • Vs. 9 – “the Lord is patient with you” — An article from Quartz urging parents to allow their kids to fail from time to time.


Mark 1:1-8 [18:58]

The previous passage from 2 Peter has a conversation begun while we were out of the room, but we can always page back a bit and come in closer to the beginning if we are confused. Not so with Mark! As we enter the room, he jumps up from his seat, grabs us by the lapels, and starts telling us about this guy from Galilee named Jesus. He goes on rapidly and then lets go and leaves the house. *blink-blink* Jill Duffield, in her article at Looking into the Lectionary, picks out the reference to Isaiah and wonders where the proper placement of punctuation may be. We take that thought and find some illustrations for WORD smart. Consider simply calling out these lines or having other people call them out for a special effect. (For a MUSIC smart, special effect, use the fanfare from Godspell.) In EYE smart, we consider the spatial factor of all the Judean countryside coming out to the baptist and have some links to pictures of HUGE crowds (actual ones). For BODY smart, we connect with the baptism John offered and also what his attire suggested about who he was. And for NATURE smart, use your baptismal font!! Pour water in it! Splash around! Try using smoke!! No, really!

  • Smarts – Word [20:29], Eye [23:32], Body [24:36], Nature [27:36]
  • Mark 1 worksheet
  • Links in Mark
    • EYE smart –
    • BODY smart –
      • Vs. 6 – How clothing description can help character development, here. Six modes plus examples.
      • Vs. 5 – Everyone being baptized or “getting clean”. Portland Rescue Mission has a link for toiletry kits that they give to homeless people on streets.
    • NATURE smart –
      • Make use of your baptismal font, pouring water in, visibly and audiblyHow would you pour Holy Spirit in there? Maybe like this! Pour smoke into it!



Image Credit: Copyright: sangoiri / 123RF Stock Photo. Used by permission.


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