“Calling from the Wilderness”
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike To
January 10, 2020 2nd Sunday of Epiphany
Welcome to Adams and Sulphur Springs UMC, I am Pastor Missy. Thank you for joining us. If you would like to join Bible Study or a small group, please message us. Please comment with how many are watching if you are joining virtually. Light a candle to join the community wherever you are at.
Mike Tyo Original Work
parent of all who call upon your name,
in the waters of baptism, you have transformed us,
marking us as your children,
and recreating us through the work of your Son
and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Shower us once more with your grace
that we might be renewed in your spirit,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen
Scripture: (Debbie Scofield is reading Acts, and Erinn Norris is reading Mark)
Each year we talk about Jesus’ baptism at the beginning of the year. We remember our own baptisms, or if we aren’t baptized it is a time to think about if we want to be baptized. Do you know what baptism is? It is an official adoption into God’s family, becoming one of Jesus’ siblings. It is when we or our parents invite the Holy Spirit into our lives to lead us and guide us to be part of the Kingdom of God for the rest of our lives. Baptism is also when we become a member of the family of God and promise to work for the good of that family for as long as we live.
When we are little, we try our very best and then when we get older we can choose to confirm our baptism, and make the vows for our selves like Abi did a few years ago. We promise to do everything we can to fight against evil and repent or turn away from our sin (when we do things that lead us away from God). That is what John is calling people to do. We also promise to use all the power God gives us to fight for God’s love and fight against evil, injustice and oppression (when people try to bully others). Sometimes that is in big things, and sometimes it can be even in little things like Abi is trying to help me with Loki, this little guy that was brought to us. He has Feline Aids, and Diabetes and a couple of other things making him sick. We are helping him to get better so that a family with no other cats can adopt him. Maybe somebody with a dog because I think he is lonely in the basement, but we are trying to give him a fighting chance at a home where he doesn’t have to stay by himself so much and gets to be with the family. Abi works with me to take care of him to get him better.
When we confirm our baptism we also promise to help each other to be part of a community that shares God’s love and works together on these things. That also means that we admit when we are wrong, take time to look at our behavior and find things that lead us away from God and then turn away from those things and back to God. That is what John wants people to do. Sometimes that looks like assuming or making up what we think other people are thinking, especially when we are mad. That leads us away from Jesus a lot. We let our minds run away instead of focusing on God.
When John baptizes Jesus he then brings the Holy Spirit into the mix and make us all part of his family. That is why baptism is so amazing and special. It is an adoption into a great big family that isn’t perfect but promises to work together, listen to the Holy Spirit and work with God on being changed to make us all a little bit better. If you have not been baptized and would like to be, talk to your families and let me know – we can definitely baptize you, even during COVID, we can figure it out. Let’s pray together that we can be more like the community God is calling us to be.
Reflection: “Calling from the Wilderness”
I don’t know about you all, but I kind of feel like I have been wandering in the wilderness this week. It has been a really long week with lots of conversations. When we get to our prayer list you will see it has grown, there are so many folks with so many worries on their hearts and then we had the mess that happened on Wednesday when rioters took over the Capitol for a few hours just to make things a little more crazy and everyone feel even more lost.
As I have been trying to find words to strengthen and give us hope all this week, all I could muster was to call us to prayer because words seemed to be so inadequate to the pain, grief and frustration I am wading in with folks this past week. It feels so heavy, so very heavy. So, I want you to do something with me for a moment. I want you to take a deep breath of the Holy Spirit with me. Invite the Holy Spirit into your breathing right now. Our breath was the first gift given to us by the Holy Spirit. Take a breath now and remember that gift. As you breathe out, let all the heavy go with it for right now, making space for the Holy Spirit in this moment right now. Let’s take a couple of these breaths, inviting God to be with us so that we can hear.
We hear in Mark about John living in the wilderness and calling people to come and repent. Repentance is the process of getting right with God. Come out, admit to the places in your life you fall short, the places you lie to yourself and God, the places where you are contributing to what is wrong in the world, wrong in your community, wrong in your life, and turn from that. It means to quite literal turn around, turn back to God. John is inviting the people into this hard work. They are doing it and from this process of self-examination and recommitment, they are noticing