grace is the gift
which flows to us
from your heart;
joy is the seed planted
deep within our souls,
that it might blossom
into lives of service to all.
And we cry: "Glory!"
Servant of sinners:
you emerge from baptism's water,
to embrace us in your hopes;
you take our fears from us
and toss them aside
as you lead us into your kingdom;
you shine the Light
which brings us out
of despair's shadows.
And we cry: "Glory!"
Wind upon the water:
you move among us
sweeping aside our petty pride,
and offering us the gifts
of humility and servanthood.
You whisper of your yearning
for peace and reconciliation,
until it silences our angry voices
and unclenches our fisted hearts.
And we cry: "Glory!"
God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our voices as your Beloved teaches,
Our Father . . .
this morning’s gospel story, I’d like the children to join me up
front…. Welcome! I’m so glad you are here today on this second
Sunday of 2012. In the church year, this is sometimes called
“Baptism of our Lord Sunday.” Why do you think that is? On this
day we read the story of when Jesus was baptized. That is
something we do a lot in church – we read the Bible. I know it
can be boring to listen to people read, especially when it’s not
a picture book. But it’s important. And because you are
important to us, I’ve invited you to sit with me as I read this
story. I want you to close your eyes and listen. What pictures
do you see in your mind as I read it? After I’m finished, I’ll
ask about what you heard, and maybe saw in your mind’s eye.
Maybe the adults could close their eyes, too, and do the same
thing. Okay. You ready? Let’s begin.
4So John the Baptist showed up in the
desert and told everyone, "Turn back to God and be
baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven." 5From
all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to
John. They told how sorry they were for their sins,
and he baptized them in the Jordan River. 6John
wore clothes made of camel's hair. He had a leather
strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild
also told the people, "Someone more powerful is
going to come. And I am not good enough even to
stoop down and untie his sandals. 8I
baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with
the Holy Spirit!" 9About
that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and
John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10As
soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky
open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a
dove. 11A voice from heaven said, "You
are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you."
Okay, you can open your eyes. Tell me, what happened in this
story? [“walk” with the children thru it, noting and going
with what they heard, asking pertinent questions. Try to see it
through their eyes. No moral or point, just the experience of
listening together for God to speak. End with a simple prayer
that ties together what they have said.]
written closer to the time (if not at the
our Tithes and Offerings
In the 18th
chapter of Acts, we hear for the first time about an
up-and-coming preacher by the name of Apollos. He was a good
speaker and knew the scriptures. However, he was still learning.
After listening to him talk in the synagogue in Ephesus,
Priscilla and Aquila took him under their wings to fill in some
holes in his theology. In particular, this mentoring couple
opened his eyes to the larger picture of baptism, that it is
more than just turning from your sins like John the Baptist
preached. It involves being empowered to walk the walk of
discipleship by the very presence of God in the Holy Spirit.
As the 19th
chapter of Acts starts out, the apostle Paul comes to Ephesus
and completes the message of Apollos, filling in the gaps.
Please note that Paul is not here calling for two baptisms, but
rather for a new beginning that involves both water and Spirit.
It wasn’t a large group – just
“twelve of them.” However, that was enough. They were beside
Paul when he later spoke in the synagogue, where he was met with
stubborn resistance. They stayed with him when he then went out
into the public and shared the way of Jesus and healed the sick.
It wasn’t a large group, but it was enough. That whole area,
called Galatia, was set on fire.
We are more than twelve
gathered here in Jesus’ name. And that, like in Ephesus, is
enough. Through water and Spirit, we are empowered by God and
given all that we need to walk the walk of faith. Along the way
of Jesus some interesting, even amazing, things happen. Are you
willing? … As the ushers receive our offerings, let’s remember
(or anticipate) our own baptism.
(video - below)
Offertory Video "Baptism of our Lord"
The voice of the Lord is over the
We have heard this voice,
on human lips in scriptures read
and prayers prayed,
in word and music
as well as in silence,
in the imagination of children
and the deep calling of the Spirit within.
God has given voice to
a new creation,
a cosmic coronation of the beloved Son;
a voice of power and glory and peace.
And God has given us a voice.
In Christ Jesus,
you are God’s beloved children.
Give voice to your baptism this week,
brothers and sisters.
Show and tell of abundant life,
sisters and brothers.
And may the One who said,
“let there be light,”
shine upon your path
and give you the courage
to walk in the way.
(para traducir a español, presione la bandera de España)
Interested in Sunday School? Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit.
As you discover others, please let
International Lesson: Adult
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement"
under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)