People Get Ready


John The Baptist Preaching, 1733, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

John The Baptist Preaching, 1733, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

As I wrote yesterday, I am interested in presenting my initial outline for an Advent Study I’ve been thinking about.  It must seem strange, thinking about Advent just a few weeks after Easter, but if a study if going to be prepared, and written, and critiqued, and rewritten, and offered to others, that takes time.  So, on this cool spring morning in May, I offer the following, the original outline I constructed on Good Friday.  The Scriptures are all from Year B of the cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary for the corresponding first, second, third, and fourth Sundays in Advent.  I copied and pasted them from the Oremus Bible Browser, using – I believe – the New Revised Standard Version:

People Get Ready: A Liberating Journey Through Advent with Curtis Mayfield

Week 1: “People Get Ready”; Scripture: Mark 13:26-27 – 6Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. Theme: Hear the prophetic word.

Week 2: “Come Free Your People”; Scripture: Isaiah 40:10-11 – 10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep. Theme: Repentance

Week 3: “We Are The People Who Are Darker Than Blue”; Scripture: Isaiah 41:1-3 – The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. Theme: Silence in Listening

Week 4: “Something To Believe In”; Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 – 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her. Theme: Faith In The Coming Liberating Work Of God

Looking it over as I pasted it here, I already see some pretty substantial changes I would make,  Nonetheless, I think both the concept and (initial) execution are sound.  I was talking with my wife, and she said something like this might be well-received in the African-American churches.  That, however, is neither my target nor goal.  Ideally, it would be wonderful to have congregations work together on this, black and white.  A second-best would have Anglo churches, at the very least, see this as a way of opening their eyes to new hermeneutical, ministerial, and missional possibilities.  I have a kind of apologia I wrote the day after completing the outline, as well as some initial sketchy ideas for each week’s study.  I need to do some work researching Mayfield and his music, particularly the genesis of the specific songs if possible (or at least the overall context in which they were originally written and presented) as a way of linking them both to the Biblical passage as well as the larger thematic content for each week of Advent.

I’m hoping for general feedback at this point.  Not having comments, if you happen to read this from Facebook you can leave comments there.  Or you can email me at  At this point, what I’m looking for are comments about whether or not I’m on to something; whether the direction I’m headed is an actual direction, or if I’m just spinning wheels; whether it would be relevant to potential audiences, regardless of race or ethnicity; any ways to improve what you, initial readers, might find useful but I either have botched completely or just not quite reached.


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About gksafford

I'm a middle-aged theologically educated clergy spouse, living in the Midwest. My children are the most important thing in my life. Right behind them and my wife is music. I'm most interested in teaching people to listen to contemporary music with ears of faith. Everything else you read on here is straw.
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