First Sunday in Epiphany, Year C

Title:First Sunday in Epiphany, Year C

  January 10, 2016  (full size gallery)

This was the first Sunday after last Wednesday’s Epiphany service on Jan. 6.  The day was warm for winter but was noted for dramatic nimbus clouds prior to the service.  They seemed to press down on the church and river.  By service time the sky was clear. It was a small congregation – only 29 compared to 50 last week. 

Today we  recognized the birthdays of Marilyn Newman, Terri Harrison, Chris Fisher and Cookie Davis.  We began the preparation for next Sunday’s congregational meeting. In the bulletin was the second installment of St. "Peter’s Sings" about the treble and bass clefs and chords.

The first Sunday after the Epiphany remembers the baptism of Jesus. All gospel accounts except John refer to the baptism of Jesus by John.  "Weaving God’s Promises" discussed the baptism using a worksheet and then went to the sacristy to review the record of each child’s baptism.

The sermon was about the significance of water in the Bible, the role of the Jordan River, the actual baptism of Jesus by John and the importance of baptism in Jesus ministry and for us. Here are the readings and the bulletin.

"Our own baptisms mark the moment in which we claim our identities as God’s beloved children. We claim the fact that, as The Book of Common Prayer puts it in the closing prayer of the Rite I Eucharist, “we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of God’s Son, the blessed company of all faithful people.” And our own baptisms mark the beginning of our journeys through this life, journeys on which hopefully we are trying to listen to God in prayer as Jesus did, and to carry out the ministries on earth that God has laid out for each one of us to do."

Poet Malcolm Guite adds these lines for this Sunday  

"The voice that made the universe reveals
The God in Man who makes it new again.
He calls us too, to step into that river
To die and rise and live and love forever."

The sermon concluded with an examination of the baptismal covenant

1. To continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers.Translation—Come to church, get renewed by meeting Jesus in the bread and wine every Sunday and every other opportunity you get, spend time with your fellow Christians, not only in worship, but also in fellowship, and to be people of prayer.

2 .Next, to persevere in resisting evil, and when you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord. That is, try really hard to resist evil, and when the devil gets the upper hand in spite of your efforts to resist, confess and turn back to God.

3 The next vow is that we will proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ. The world watches Christians to see whether or not what we say and do matches what God would have us say and do. So as St Francis said, “Proclaim the Good News, and if necessary, use words.” Live your lives as if you really are beloved children of God, even when life would be easier just to follow the ways of the world.

4 In the next two vows, the going really does get tough.We vow to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves, to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.

"This life giving water contains within it the reminder that we, like Jesus, are God’s beloved sons and daughters. This water contains in it the reminder that through our baptisms we are given a rock of our belief in God to stand on and the family of God to keep us company. This water contains in it the power to help give us the will to want to resist evil. This water contains in it the Good News of life that we want to share. This water reminds us of our desire to find God in each and every person we meet, and to find God in all of creation. This water gives us the will to want justice, peace and dignity for every human being on the face of this earth."

Catherine put water in the font for the renewal of baptism which had some water from the Jordan River. Children came forward while the conregation renewed their vows. Later during the communion adults were invited to dip their hands in the font for their own renewal.

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