Matthew 3:13-17 Children can follow on page 178 in Shine On and page 242 in Spark.
Verse 16 - "And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him."
This season as we consider "Behaving" after our Epiphany season of "Belonging," we also invite people to be baptized. Although Baptism has too often been linked directly to entry into heaven, for many Anabaptists it has signaled life with Jesus. In this passage, John tries to switch the roles, and be baptized by Jesus. However, Jesus makes it clear that to keep living in right ways, everyone should be baptized. What has often been misinterpreted is that Baptism is needed to be part of a special group. In fact, the primary explanation in this passage is to signal that you are living in right ways. To be part of God's people and to experience heaven you do not need baptism as much as you simply need to focus on living in right ways. The focus of baptism is a sign that you are giving up selfishness and giving up the need to be more important than others. You give up living a life that focuses on greed, fear, violence and hate.
This season that pastoral team invite everyone who has not been baptized to be baptized on Easter Sunday, our annual tradition. This will serve as a sign that you are aware of God in your life, and that you will continue living after the ways of Jesus. It also clearly signals that you value this church community, and that you commit to investing in it with your time and gifts. Too many people in America are tired of institutional churches that feel bossy and exclusive. Let us be a people and a place that embody love and relationships. Let us baptize each other as John baptized Jesus, and let us keep remembering our baptism of hope, peace and making the world a better place.
Events & Evites:
Tory - Pastor of Children and Youth Faith Formation.