Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 12, 2013 - First Sunday of Epiphany

Breaking Open the Scriptures Scriptures for January 12th: Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-43; Matthew 3:13-17; Theme: Baptism of Christ; Song: I am Going to Sing when the Spirit Says Sing – UMH 333) Isaiah: This is called a servant song. It talks about all of the things that a messiah will do. It reminds us that our task I serving God is I serving others. We have to be patient, we have to be humble, we have to have a relationship with God. Justice and mercy are important to God. So it much be important to our service. Jesus took these songs seriously as an example, and he made sure that he could follow this example in all that he did. God has a history of salvation and creation. God makes sure that in every generation, that he continues this work. The example of the suffering servant is not just for Jesus, it is for us also. We have to sacrifice our will for God will. And live as God wants us to. If we serve him, he will not only empower us, he will reward us for our faithfulness. We have to know that as we serve God, that we also hope and work for a new world. It is not our vision, it is God’s vision. God gives each of us a part to play in his heroic act of salvation. We don’t have to be the servant, but how else to we truly learn to love God? Matthew: We are following the life of Jesus. The verses that talk about the childhood of Jesus are very few. That was not important for the early Church. Easter was celebrated much before Christmas. Actually, the beginning holiday for the church was the epiphany season. The baptism of Jesus was when he realized his call from God. It was when God acknowledged to the world that this was his son. It was the beginning of Jesus ministry. We don’t realize that his teachings was only one year of his life. When we are baptized, we too are empowered to start our life in Christ. When we get baptized, we have just as much power as Christ does, and we have to power to teach, to evangelize, to heal. So it is importat to remember our baptism, so that we can remember our power. Questions: What does it mean to suffer for God? What does it mean to be rewarded by God? What justice work needs to be done in your community? How do you prepare yourself to do that work? What does baptism mean to you? How do you live out your baptism? How does God affirm your work (and if it is of God you will find some affirmation)? How does God equip you? How have you experienced the power of God to help you? What do you think of the baptism of the kids in the church?

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