All Saints Messenger - January 4, 2018

posted Jan 10, 2018, 7:02 AM by Church Secretary
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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Many of the readings from this weeks Daily Office and the reading from the Gospel of Mark, when taken together, invite reflection on the nature and validity of baptism as performed by John the Baptist. What seems clear is that both John's and Jesus' baptisms recognize that the gift of baptism is forgiveness of sins, which is what is necessary if any relationship with the one, holy God is to be possible. John proclaims that one more powerful than he is coming. What is different is that Jesus' baptism--both the baptism he received and the baptism he commanded--involves the Holy Spirit--who then makes faith possible. 

The gospels record many examples of Jesus exercising power over sickness, over stormy weather, even over death. Many prayers of the church include petitions that God might fix our lives--heal the sick, protect and improve the environment, grant justice to the oppressed. These are big problems, but are "puppy problems" compared to the biggest problem we each face. Our greatest problem is our separation from God. And for that, Jesus exercised his greatest power--by dying on the cross. In its best use, power is always motivated by love.

This Sunday we will baptize three "Beloved Children of God," they will become "adopted" by God and fully sanctified and redeemed through Jesus Christ. My Episcopal History professor, The Rev, Don Armentrout was a man who could capture the elements of our faith in funny snippets, vignettes and stories. He loved to say that whenever he was asked if he believed in baptism, he would respond, "Believe it, Heck I've seen it." That's who we are as a community of faith. We believe because the stories have been passed down, we have seen and thus, we have come to believe. Join us this Sunday to see, experience and recall your own, once again, the life-giving, life-saving rite of Baptism.

Spirit of God, inspire us, encourage us, move us to proclaim-by our words and our deeds-your measureless love for your world and all its people. May we always use the gifts you have given us for the benefit of the creation and your creatures, whom you pronounced as "good." Amen.

See ya Sunday!