A Call to Worship - Responsive Reading from Malachi 3:1 & Isaiah 40:1-5
Leader: The LORD All-Powerful says, "I am sending my messenger to prepare the way for me.
All: Then suddenly, the Lord you are looking for will come to his temple.
Leader: Yes, the messenger you are waiting for, the one who will tell about my agreement, is really coming!
All: Your God says, "Comfort, comfort my people.
Leader: Speak kindly to Jerusalem and tell her, 'Your time of service is finished. You have paid the price for your sins.'
All: Listen, there is someone shouting: "Prepare a way in the desert for the LORD. Make a straight road there for our God.
Leader: Every valley must be filled. Every mountain and hill should be made flat.
All: The crooked roads should be made straight, and the rough ground made smooth.
Leader: Then the Glory of the LORD will be shown to everyone. Together, all people will see it.
All: Yes, this is what the LORD himself said!"
Scripture Reading - Mark 1:1-11 (Easy to Read Version)
2 with what the prophet Isaiah said would happen. He wrote: "Listen! I will send my messenger ahead of you. He will prepare the way for you."
3 "There is someone shouting in the desert: 'Prepare the way for the Lord. Make the road straight for him.'"
4 So John the Baptizer came and was baptizing people in the desert area. He told them to be baptized to show that they wanted to change their lives, and then their sins would be forgiven.
5 All the people from Judea, including everyone from Jerusalem, came out to John. They confessed the bad things they had done, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.
6 John wore clothes made from camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
7 This is what John told the people: "There is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who stoops down to untie his sandals.
8 I baptize you with water, but the one who is coming will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
9 About that time Jesus came from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the place where John was. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the sky torn open. The Spirit came down on him like a dove.
11 A voice came from heaven and said, "You are my Son, the one I love. I am very pleased with you."
Scripture Reading - Mark 16:14-20 (Easy to Read Version)
15 He said to them, "Go everywhere in the world. Tell the Good News to everyone.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. But those who do not believe will be judged guilty.
17 And the people who believe will be able to do these things as proof: They will use my name to force demons out of people. They will speak in languages they never learned.
18 If they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be hurt. They will lay their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
19 After the Lord Jesus said these things to his followers, he was carried up into heaven. There, Jesus sat at the right side of God.
20 The followers went everywhere in the world telling people the Good News, and the Lord helped them. By giving them power to do miracles the Lord proved that their message was true.