Peace School - Sunday's story is that of John of the Baptist. John believed that rituals, religion, beliefs, and priests didn't matter much if people were not willing to change their lifestyles. By being cleansed with water in the Jordan River, people were committing to a life that was changed by God. This echos Moses led the people out of Egypt through the Red Sea into a new life beyond empire. This echos Joshua leading the people out of their time in the wilderness through the Jordan River into a land of promise. Each journey through water signified that life was changing. No longer did the Hebrews follow Pharaoh. No longer did the Israelites wander homeless. Now with John, no longer did people have to wait for the Kingdom of God. While John focused on people changing their hearts and actions, Jesus focused on people following God above all else. While the sacred texts (Old Testament) mattered, and the temple mattered, and the religious leaders mattered, they were not God. At what point do we realize that God is speaking to each of us, and the we owe are allegiance to God above all else?
For our children, may they know that even Jesus was baptized, as a way to show all of us to keep changing our ways with love, patience, peace, kindness, mercy, service, relationships, justice, confession, forgiveness, etc. These are the ways that Jesus acts out in multiple stories after being baptized by John. How do we keep encouraging and modeling the acting out of these values of the kingdom of God?
Explore - Here's an activity, "Thankful Rocks," to remind us that Christmas gifts are not the only thing in life to want or be thankful for. In fact, after some of the toys have become "boring," do we always want and need more? When are we thankful? What/who are we thankful for?
Pray - this season of Epiphany we'll be focusing on Psalm 23. Probably the most well known of all the Psalms.