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WEEK ELEVEN | WEEK TWELEVE | WEEK THIRTEEN | WEEK FOURTEEN | WEEK FIFTEEN
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WEEK FIFTEEN: GOD BRINGS HOPE

Prayer:
 

God of Hope,
You are the everlasting God.
The Creator of the ends of the earth.
O Lord your strength is enduring,
Your understanding is unsearchable.
Pour out your enduring hope into our hearts
So that we may prepare our hearts
for the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ.
For those who wait for the Lord
Shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not grow faint.

Amen.

 

(based on Isaiah 40)

WEEK FIFTEEN | DAY ONE

 

READ:  Mark 1:1-15


JOURNAL: Write your initial thoughts on today’s reading. What words or phrases stuck out to you? What questions do you have about what you read?

LEARN: Considered the earliest written gospel, Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and often characterized by brief and distinct episodes linked together by short transitions and contextual descriptions. Mark identities Jesus through both the words of the ancient Hebrew prophet and the prophet of John the Baptizer. The prophet Isaiah and John call out to us to prepare and welcome the one to come and bring salvation. In 1:6-8, Mark describes John as he humbly proclaims the one who is greater to come, Jesus Christ. Then Jesus is baptized and anointed as God’s son through water, the Holy Spirit, and the voice from heaven.

 

RESPOND: 

  • As we start Advent in our Word Alive Journey, reflect on three learnings from your journey since you began.  

  • How have those learnings prepared you or opened your heart in new ways to the coming of Christ during this season of Advent?

  • Write 3 things you hope to learn about Jesus, Scripture, or your faith during the next four weeks.

WEEK FIFTEEN | DAY TWO

 

READ: Isaiah 40


JOURNAL: Write your initial thoughts on today’s reading. What words or phrases stuck out to you? What questions do you have about what you read?

  

LEARN: The reading from Isaiah is to instill hope that God will restore and liberate as God keeps God’s covenant with Jerusalem. Mark’s Gospel ties this proclamation from Isaiah (and Malachi 3:1) to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus which will restore, liberate, and renew God’s covenant for all people. The ancient prophet cries out hope to those wandering in exile then and offers us hope as we pray to God from the wilderness. The chapter begins and ends with the words of God’s comfort and hope that give us perseverance and strength in the face of all our challenges and fears.

RESPOND: 
The author of Isaiah 40 and the writer of Mark’s gospel both hear and uniquely understand the voice crying out to “prepare the way of the Lord.”

  • What does it mean to you personally?   

  • Isaiah 40 is filled with words of hope and comfort. Select one verse that speaks to your heart today.

WEEK FIFTEEN | DAY THREE

 

READ: Psalm 80


JOURNAL: Write your initial thoughts on today’s reading. What words or phrases stuck out to you? What questions do you have about what you read?

 

LEARN: Psalm 80 is written as a communal prayer song asking the Shepherd of Israel to listen and restore God’s people. Their unified voices sing out in hope of the coming of God even as they recount the violence, pain, and suffering that they have endured. God offers eternal hope, and during Advent we welcome in unified voice the hope that comes through new life in Jesus Christ.    

 

RESPOND: 

  • Re-read the Psalm refraining in verses 80:3, 7, 19.

  • What areas of your life are broken and in need of hope that God can restore? What specifically can you ask God to restore in you that would fill you with hope this Advent?

  • Write down Psalm 80 (refrain - verse 3, 7, or 19). Leave it out as a reminder of your hope in the Lord.

WEEK FIFTEEN| DAY FOUR

 

READ: Mark 1:16-45


JOURNAL: Write your initial thoughts on today’s reading. What words or phrases stuck out to you? What questions do you have about what you read?

 

LEARN: The gospel of Mark transitions in verse 16 to the ministry and works of Jesus as he proclaims that the Kingdom of God is near. He calls us to repent and believe in the good news. In the rest of the chapter we join Jesus as his disciples immediately accept his calling, the unclean spirits name his power, and the amazed crowds witness his authority to teach, heal, and cast out spirits. As we prepare in hope during Advent, Jesus calls to us to repent and believe as he continues to offer us healing and transforming grace. 

 

RESPOND: 

  • How many acts of healing or exorcisms does Mark mention in this text? Choose one that causes you to be curious or fills you with hope? Why?

  • Reflect on Mark 1:35-36. Why did Jesus go off alone to pray? Why were they searching for him? Why do you think he traveled to other towns? How is the example of Jesus speaking to you?

WEEK FIFTEEN| DAY FIVE

 

READ: Mark 13:24-37


JOURNAL: Write your initial thoughts on today’s reading. What words or phrases stuck out to you? What questions do you have about what you read?

 

LEARN: The season of Advent is not just to remember the birth of Jesus but to also recognize Christ moving in our lives today and find hope in the future coming of Christ. Jesus teaches us that to be hopeful means to be aware and alert. There is no need to waste our energy trying to guess at signs and changes of his coming as it is impossible. At Advent, we prepare our hearts to be alert and present in the moment as God brings the hope of Christ today and in the future.

 

RESPOND: Compare our selected text with Isaiah 40:3-8. How are the teachings from Isaiah and Jesus similar and different? How is Jesus restoring the kingdom of God both today and in the future? 

  • With a friend, family, or your small group, share the meaning of Advent for you. Name one way God is bringing God’s hope into your life this Advent. 

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ABOUT US

Church of the Saviour United Methodist is a multi-generational Christian congregation serving Montgomery, Blue Ash, and other communities in the northern region of Cincinnati, Ohio. 

ADDRESS

Church of the Saviour United Methodist​

8005 Pfeiffer Road
Cincinnati, OH 45242

513-791-3142

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