The story for today is actually not about Jesus. But it is important in understanding the setting and story of Jesus. John the Baptist was closely associated with Jesus, and instead of competing with each other, they worked on similar goals. John's message to the Jews was not necessarily new, but it was clear and invitational, including a ritual. For sins to be forgiven by God, John preached that people must repent. Sometimes "repentance" has been misinterpreted as "confession," but in fact "repentance" more directly means "change." To be forgiven by God does not need to include confession as much as it needs to include changes to our behavior. Furthermore, John invited people to be baptized in the cleansing waters of the Jordan River.
Today, baptism includes the belief that we are saved by God. But as Mennonite Christians, it also clearly symbolizes our deep desire to belong to a community of Jesus followers as we keep changing our lifestyles to better follow Jesus and live God's ways. Take a moment to consider the big and small conversion moments in your life. Did some of them happen quickly? Are there others that are taking a lifetime to practice? Do you think being baptized makes a difference in one's faith? What rituals and religious gatherings have meant a lot to you in your life? What rituals and religious gatherings have lost connection with your faith?
Teenagers and adults can read about John here.
Children can read about John in Shine on page 176 and in Spark on page 234.
Choose a prayer today to recite, remember and live by:
Lords Prayer (198 in Shine On, 278 in Spark)
Psalm 23 (129 in Shine On, 160 in Spark)
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.