Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Theme: Preparing for the Mission
“The baptism of Jesus, therefore, celebrates both the uniqueness of Jesus and his role as a model for all who will be so baptized with the Spirit. The narrative creatively weaves together a number of biblical allusions. Such a tapestry says something in itself. In a world of above and below, above and below meet in Jesus. The dove, perhaps evoking images of deity in the pagan world, perhaps just a symbol of the hovering Spirit of creation, alights to represent the connection which is to be lived out in flesh and blood in Jesus’ ministry…Its (baptism’s) vow demand we take sides, pledge allegiance, against the claims of every other reign but God’s. Baptism meant then and means now that we’re embracing as of first importance not ourselves or even each other, but rather God and then each other as agents with God to enact the repentance and change that God’s kingdom both demands and makes possible.” (Safiya Fosua, General Board of Discipleship, United Methodist Church, gbod.org/lectionary)
The baptism of Jesus was, in effect, a Commencement event that launched his career as Messiah, and—true to form—it included a Commencement speech. That speech was a very short one, but also a very powerful one: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (v. 22). And unlike our Commencements, this one included an event that empowered Jesus to carry out his mission: “and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove” (v. 22). —1/13/13 (Leroy Koopman, Reformed Church in America)
“Each of the baptized sees himself or herself as a missionary—as part of Jesus’ mission wherever they are. In baptism, each joined God’s mission in Jesus Christ and seeks to live it 24/7’365 in each of their daily places – in their daily ‘mission fields’ @ home, work, local community, wider world, leisure spiritual health, church life and its outreach. This is a breakthrough!” When the Members Are the Missionaries, An Extraordinary Calling for Ordinary People, A. Wayne Schwab, www.membermission.org.
“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Be Thou My Vision,” “O, Master, Let Me Walk With Thee,” “So Send I You,” “Breathe On Me, Breath of God,” “Take My Life and Let It Be Consecrated”
Call to Worship: It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made us glad by your work; at the words of your hands we sing for joy.
Confession: We confess, Lord, that all too often we are content to remain the way we are. We believe we are honest enough, and truthful enough, and faithful enough, and kind enough, and patient enough. Forgive, we pray, our acceptance of minimum standards, and motivate us to become all that we can be.
Assurance: God will strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. –1 Corinthians 1:8
Offertory: As we bring these gifts, Lord, a portion of all we are and have, we remember that it all belongs to you, and that we belong to you, and find our ultimate fulfillment in the mission to which you have called and anointed us. May we be found faithful . Amen
Benediction: May the power of God the Creator, the peace of God the Redeemer, and the presence of God the Comforter, be with you now and forever. Amen
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