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Advent and John the Baptist

“Change your minds! Grow up! The Reign of God is at hand!”

This coming week we get four beautiful readings that reveal the hope of our faith through the lens of John the Baptist who came to prepare the way for Jesus.

John the Baptist was born to Mary’s kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age and raised to be a prophet. He was Elijah coming before the Messiah, living in the wilderness, wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey.  

His life bore the marks of the prophets who came before him because he was the last of the prophetic line. He offered a baptism for the repentance of sins, which we will learn about this Sunday, but his baptism also offered a way for people to renew their faith and covenant as Israelites. He was preparing their hearts for the coming of Jesus. 

When people came to John for baptism they would ask him what they should do, and he often told them to obey the law, act justly in their work, and stop sinning.  

We can follow that same advice as people coming today to hear what we should do: do what is right and not more and stop sinning.  We add what Jesus added: do good for others and forgive sins.  

In our work at Christ Church of the Ascension, the Vestry is leading us, with help from the Butler Family Foundation, in generous donations to three causes.

One.  The Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank. Learn more at
Two. Water filters for South Sudan, click here for more information.
Three. The Boys and Girls Club of America (local chapter). 

As we come to the end of our stewardship campaign on Sunday, we will bless the pledges we have received on the altar as a sign of our gratitude and worship of God. 

Your generosity is an essential part of your faith and following of Christ.  We still have a ways to go, so be sure to get your pledges in this week, and be a part of the good we do here as Christ’s Church.


The Very Rev. Daniel P. Richards