Date: January 15, 2017
BY THE HAND
SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 43:1
; MATTHEW 3: 13
GRACE COVENANT PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ASHEVILLE, NC
January 8, 2017
The Rev. Dr. Marcia Mount Shoop, Pastor
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.
would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to
But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to
fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented.
And when Jesus had been baptiz
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.
And a voice
from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved,
with whom I am well pleased.’
The Word of
Thanks be to God.
Baptism is something the sing about.
Coming to the Table is something to sing about.
We sing when we are filled with joy.
We sing when we cannot but speak of our yearning, our need for God.
We sing of our hunger and t
hirst for justice, for God’s mercy
We sing our gratitude.
We sing our sorrow.
We sing our hopes and dreams.
We sing our story.
I don’t have conscious memory of my baptism.
My grandfather baptized me when I was a baby, just like he baptized my
sisters before me, and one more
after me. Just like my father’s grandfather
had baptized him. And just like my father baptized all his grandchildren.
Baptism is not a rite of passage in our faith tradition. And it is not a golden tic
heaven. Baptism is sign and seal of what is already true about us
that God’s love
circles us and forms and informs our lives before and beyond any choices we might
make. Baptism helps to frame and define our story
not change our story into one
includes God, but to color in the vividness of God’s careful and faithful presence
in our lives.
And it invites the community of faith to be part of how the children of
God learn who we are.
Whether you have memories of your baptism or not, the invitati
on to remember is
not an invitation to
a narrative memory, but an invitation to
you are God’s beloved child. You
and loved because God knows you better than anyone e
lse. God’s been
all along and God will be there forevermore.
As Jesus foll
owers, your story, my story, our story is
creative and steady love
Moments, crossroads, epiphanies,
some may come to mind
you right now
f you a
llow them to surface:
hose moments in time that are
rich and thick with clarity about who you are
and who God i
those moments rich and thick
how God is moving, breathing, luring,
inviting, troubling, consoling
those moments rich and thick with
God is telling you again who you are,
whose you are.
Let some of those moments in your story come to the surface in your consciousness
Where are the golden threads of God’s providence recognizable in your life? Where
are they easy to
see for you? Where have they taken more work for you to receive,
Noticing the providential threads in your life, truly taking them in
is not about
looking for proof that God exists or signs that God is in control. But those are often