(Scripture notes from Season of the Spirit and Pulpit Resource)
January 7 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 and sharing communion at the chancel rail. We will be dedicating the group traveling to Franklinton Center. The Senior Choir will be singing.
January 14 Second Sunday after Epiphany
In both the gospel lesson (John 1:43-51) and the Hebrew lesson (1 Samuel 3:1-10), we hear stories about God calling disciples. Samuel recounts the classic story of God calling him in the night. Samuel responds in the way most of us would want to respond: “Hear I am, Lord…“Speak, for your servant is listening.” In John’s gospel, the only gospel to mention Nathaniel as a character in Jesus’ gathering up his disciples (note that Nathaniel was not counted as one of the 12 disciples), we hear the question put to Jesus about worth and value. We hear Nathaniel wondering: “Can this guy from Nazareth be worth it?” We might ask the same question: Can anything of worth come out of our lives of faith, lived individually or lived together in the church in 2018?
Spirit will be singing this morning. The Rev. Richard Leslie and Jo Ann Fritz will be leading worship.
January 21 Third Sunday after Epiphany
God calls many different people in many different ways. In the Gospel lesson from Mark 1: 14-20, Jesus sees four fishers, and they immediately leave their nets in response to the call to “Follow me.” Jonah 3:1–5, 0 is also a story of call. The prophet Jonah has already failed once to respond to God’s call. Now God calls Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance. Because of this reluctant prophet, the people repent and acknowledge God. God’s mind is changed and Nineveh is saved.
The Senior Choir will be singing.
January 28 Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
(Bulletin Not Yet Available)
In the gospel lesson, Mark 1: 21-28, Jesus is revealed as one who speaks and acts with God’s authority. In the focus passage, Jesus teaches and casts out an unclean spirit. God will provide wisdom, courage, and power to those whom God calls to lead. In Deuteronomy 18:15–20, an account from near the end of Moses’ life, Moses assures the people that God will raise up new prophets who will speak with God’s authority just as Moses has.
Musicians from Catawba College will be joining us in worship.