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January 7, 2021
Like you, I am still reeling from yesterday’s events. I am trying to process all that I saw and heard and wondering where our country goes from here.
What is clear is that we need leadership in the nation, the world, our community, and our church that is willing to do the hard work of building relationships of trust and respect. It is clear that we all need to take a deep breath and focus on the values we proclaim as people of faith and as a country. Then, we must do the even harder work of standing up to bullying, injustice, misinformation, and attempts to create an alternative universe.
We have seen so much of what we value ridiculed, challenged, and yesterday we saw an attempt to destroy our democracy.
There can be no silence. There can be no “I had no idea this was going on.” There can be no sitting comfortably in our lazy boy chairs or watching from the sidelines. We have the responsibility as citizens and as people of faith to do this hard work.
Stacey Abrams of Georgia spoke of how she has been working, for years, to go to where people are, to listen to them, to hear their concerns, and build relationships. She admits that this is hard, time consuming work but it is the only way we can building a community. And you know where she learned these skills? From her parents. Her clergy parents used this model as the way they met people and created church community.
We know how to do this work and we must do it. Our lives depend on it.
Worship Notes: Baptism of Christ Sunday
Today is Baptism of Jesus Sunday, an invitation to enter into the mystery and wonder of Baptism. Baptism is important to our identity as Christians, as it is the defining moment in which we enter into the Christian family. This day invites reflection on the relationship between God and Jesus, defined in Jesus’ baptism as special and different from all other relationships. Consider what it means that God says to each of us, “You are my beloved child.”
Mark’s gospel is characterized by urgency – events happen at a rapid pace. In these opening verses, John the Baptizer bursts on the scene in our Gospel lesson, Mark 1: 4-11, with a shocking message: Israel must repent and return to God’s ways. In the defining moment of baptism, there is a new beginning for Jesus and for all who would follow him in the days and years to come.
Genesis 1:1–5 gives a vivid picture of the work of God the creator. Water is an image of power, both life-giving and destructive. A wind from God (God’s Spirit) brings order out of the watery chaos. God creates by speaking and calls the creation “good.” Creation is beloved and God is pleased with it.
We will be reaffirming our baptisms this morning. If you are worshipping at home, please have a small bowl of water at your worship centers.
Food for Thought:
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Rev. Dr. Barbara Kershner Daniel, Senior Pastor
Evangelical Reformed Church, United Church of Christ
15 West Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701