Posts Tagged "Baptism of the Lord"

Sermon January 15: The Grace of Acceptance

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon January 15: The Grace of Acceptance

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/The-Grace-Of-Acceptance-January-15-2017.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church January 15, 2017 Baptism of Jesus Sunday Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Matthew 3:13-17, Isaiah 42:1-9 Prayer of Illumination: Voice of God, you are powerful enough to shake the wilderness, yet tender enough to bathe Jesus in your love at his baptism. Open us to your fresh possibilities. Tell us what you will bring about through the gift of your Spirit as you word falls upon us this day. Amen. Sermon:                               The Grace of Acceptance Our worship series for the next few weeks focuses on the question, “Who are you?” Who are you? There are many ways we can answer that question. I am a Christian, a wife, a daughter, a pastor, a step-mother, a friend, a writer, a swimmer, a dog-trainer, a neat freak, a worrier, a brunette, a Methodist….. Depending on the circumstances we might answer that question in any number of ways. But over the next few weeks we are going to try to drill down into that question ~ get beyond the surface ~ to discover, or re-discover, who we are at our core. Who God calls us to be. And this morning our Scripture brings us to the topic of baptism. Martin Luther, the reformer of the 16th century whose name was carried by Martin Luther King Jr., was the one who set into motion the events that led to the Protestant Reformation. Luther went up against some pretty powerful people of his day as he pointed out what we saw as the hypocrisy of the church. Tradition has it that whenever he felt doubt or fear or tiredness creeping in he would remind himself of his identity by touching his forehead and saying, “I am baptized!” Today is the day we recall Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan by John. Jesus, the one who last Sunday was worshiped as a king by kings from the East, had grown into a man. Despite all the talk of Kingship when he was an infant, Jesus did not appear much like a king. He was simply the carpenter’s son from Nazareth headed down to the Jordan to visit his cousin John. John, though, recognized Jesus for who he really was ~ the one everyone had been waiting for, the very Son of God. So when Jesus presented himself to be baptized, John hesitated saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” Yet, Jesus explained to John that it was necessary. “Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus needed to go to the riverbank, to get wet, to sink his toes in the mud just like everyone else who had come down to the Jordan. As Eric Barreto wrote, “Jesus is not a king who won’t deign to tread the humble paths of his servants.”   We don’t go into the waters of baptism alone. John was right, though. Jesus’ baptism was no ordinary baptism. (Not that there ever is an ordinary baptism.) The Scripture tells us that as Jesus came up from the waters the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove. God then spoke, saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Yet the people gathered on the banks of the Jordan heard more than beautiful words. They heard words echoing back to those spoken long ago by the prophet Isaiah, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom I delight.” This passage is from a portion of Scripture known as The...

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Sermon January 11: The Start of Things

Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon January 11: The Start of Things

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/The-Start-of-Things-January-11-2015.mp3 Faith United Methodist Church January 11, 2015 Baptism of The Lord Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5, Mark 1:4-11 Prayer of Illumination: Holy Spirit, descend upon us this day as you descended upon Jesus on the day of his baptism. Heal our brokenness and seal us once again into the fullness of your love. May the words that I speak and the thoughts that we form reflect our identity as people of water and the Spirit. Amen. Sermon:                                        The Start of Things         Eternal Father: When nothing existed but chaos,          you swept across the dark waters          and brought forth light. Water. It’s more than just something that’s bottled in Poland Spring, Maine. It’s more than that with which we wash our clothes and dishes and selves every day.   At the very start of things, when nothing existed but chaos, God swept across the waters. In the days of Noah          you saved those on the ark through water After the flood you set in the clouds a rainbow. When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt,          you led them to freedom through the sea. Their children you brought through the Jordan          to the land which you promised. Water. We let it run from the faucets when we brush our teeth. We get annoyed when it falls from the sky ~ which it can do as rain or ice or even snow. Yet none of us can live without it. It makes up something like 60% of our bodies. It is one of the most ordinary things on earth, yet an instrument of God’s extraordinary grace. In the fullness of time you sent Jesus,          nurtured in the water of a womb. He was baptized by John and anointed by your Spirit. He called his disciples          to share in the baptism of his death and resurrection          and to make disciples of all nations. These are the things we affirm about water every time we prepare for Baptism. God created the water. God works through the water. God calls us to the water. I was one of those kids at swim lessons who didn’t want to put her face underwater. I had to practice at home in the tub. Holding my breath. Putting my face in the water. Turning my head to breathe. I finally got the hang of it, and was eventually even able to dive to the bottom of the pool, but there is something a little scary about the water. When we’re in it, the usual rules don’t apply. That can also be said about the waters of baptism, it seems to me. The usual rules don’t apply. Baptism isn’t just a pretty ceremony or ‘the thing to do.’ As one pastor put it, Christian baptism isn’t just some water being splashed. It is water and the Word. The Book of Acts tells us of several folks who found this out for themselves. In one case, recorded in Acts 19, some believers gathered with the Apostle Paul and Paul asked them what they knew about the Holy Spirit. They responded truthfully, “We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!” Upon that, Paul filled them in and, for them, everything changed. They were baptized in the name of Jesus ~ immersed in the water which has flowed from God since the start of things ~ and filled with the Holy Spirit. Water and the Word. The Scripture tells us that, upon their baptism, these believers began speaking in tongues and prophesying. Not something we often...

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Sermon January 12: God’s Servant

Posted by on Jan 12, 2014 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon January 12: God’s Servant

http://faithsbvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Gods-Servant-January-12-2014.mp3Faith United Methodist Church January 12, 2014 Baptism of the Lord Rev. Krista-Beth Atwood Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17, Isaiah 42:1-9 Prayer of Illumination: God has blessed us with more than an understanding of what is good and pleasing.  God has blessed us with new life and power through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Rejoice in the glory of God that thunders for all the world to hear.  Sing praise to the one who was baptized by John, that we might become his disciples and children of the living God.  Amen. Sermon: God’s Servant   Last Sunday marked the arrival of a much-anticipated event.  It was the culmination of many months of waiting and wondering.  Indeed, sometimes it seemed like the day would never come.  Yet, when it did, it was as beautiful and heart-wrenching and joyful as I imagined it would be.  Does anyone want to guess what I am talking about?  Yes, the return of Downton Abbey. For those who may not know, Downton Abbey is a British period drama shown on PBS Masterpiece Classic.  Currently in it’s fourth season, the story takes place in the early 1900’s.  It follows an aristocratic family ~ and their servants ~ through the cultural and personal changes of the time.  While Downton followers love the story lines that take place downstairs in the servants’ hall, I suspect we fancy ourselves as members of the family.  At home, Gary and I jokingly wonder when Mrs. Patmore will have dinner ready or when Carson will bring our tea.  It is more fun to think of oneself as the served, rather than the one doing the serving. I could go on about Downton Abbey ~ Will Daisy find love?  Will Mary take her rightful place in running the estate?  Will Lord Grantham come to his senses and move into the 20th century?  But I should probably get to the Baptism of the Lord, since that is the real topic for today.  Today is the day we recall Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan by John.  Jesus, the one who last Sunday was worshiped as a King by Kings from the East, had grown into a man.  Despite all the talk of Kingship when he was an infant, Jesus did not appear much like a king.  He had no flowing robes, no Downton Abbey size mansion, no thrown.  He was simply the carpenter’s son from Nazareth headed down to the Jordan to visit his cousin John. John, though, recognized Jesus for who he really was ~ the one everyone had been waiting for, the very Son of God.  So when Jesus presented himself to be baptized, John hesitated saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  Yet, Jesus explained to John that it was necessary.  “Let it be so now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”  Jesus needed to go to the riverbank, to get wet, to sink his toes in the mud just like everyone else who had come down to the Jordan.  As Eric Barreto wrote, “Jesus is not a king who won’t deign to tread the humble paths of his servants.”   We don’t go into the waters of baptism alone. John was right, though.  Jesus’ baptism was no ordinary baptism.  (Not that there ever is an ordinary baptism.) The Scripture tells us that as Jesus came up from the waters the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove.  God then spoke, saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  A baptism fit...

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