January 9, 2022 - Baptism of the Lord

January 9, 2022 – Celebrating the Baptism of our Lord

Morning prayer O God of all creation, You came into the world that we might know love and new life. Pour Your Spirit on Your church, that it may fulfill Christ’s command to live the gospel everywhere; that the proclamation of the good news might be heard throughout the earth. Reassure us that we are Your beloved people. Defend us against all evil and temptation. Give us grace to bear faithful witness to You. Endue us with love, keep us constant in prayer, empower us for the service of love. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Call to Worship Psalm 29

L: Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.

P: The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

L: He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.

P: The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.

The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in His temple all say, "Glory!"

L: The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.

P: May the LORD give strength to His people! May the LORD bless His people with peace!

Hymn #420 Breathe on Me, Breath of God

1. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love,
and do what thou wouldst do.

2. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until with thee I will one will,
to do and to endure.

3. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
till I am wholly Thine,
till all this earthly part of me
glows with Thy fire divine.

4. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with Thee the perfect life
of Thine eternity.

Children’s message

Matthew 3:27 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Do you know what I love about this pronouncement by God? Jesus hadn’t done any of His “Jesus“ stuff yet. He hadn’t healed any one, He hadn’t begun to teach, preach, or even question the authorities. God just loved Him, and do you know what? Just because each us of is who we are, God loves us too. There are no conditions, there are no strings attached to it, God loves us and we have to remember that. People, you and me, can make it difficult for others to live in that love, because we want to qualify or put conditions on that love, but God does not. God loves us through and in spite of our short comings, past bad decisions and our humanness. Because God loves us. I hope you can carry those words with you all the days of your life and can feel this as the hug you needed from God today.

Let us pray:

Holy God, thank You for loving us and thank You for the reminders You send every day. Some days we cannot hear them over the noise of the world and the brokenness of ourselves, but Father, truly, thank You. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You most gracious and forgiving Father for hearing the cries of our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlight:  A portion of the Missions funding is set aside for emergent needs in our community.  Anytime there is a fire, death in a young family, or significant tragedy Lightstreet UMC stands ready to be the love and comfort of Jesus to hurting neighbors.

Offertory prayer: God of new beginnings, as we move into this new year, stir in us the feelings of expectation! Kindle our hearts and minds to see possibilities for our world and for Your kingdom. Help us to believe that the world we have can be better: more loving, more just, more compassionate, and looking much more like the world You’ve imagined for us. Lord, help us to give generously this day to empower that to happen. In the name of Christ, Savior and Redeemer, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Preparation Hymn: #599 Break Thou the Bread of Life

1. Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
my spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word!

2. Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord, to me, to me,
as Thou didst bless the bread by Galilee;
then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my all in all.

Message scripture: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His granary; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with You I am well pleased.”

Message:  It Is the State In Which We Live – I Am Baptized     Pastor Becky Cuddeback

There was an old country church and it had become infested with bats. For a number of reasons, health concerns being the primary reason, the congregation began the process of trying to figure out the most humane way to rid the building of the unwanted squatters. There were many suggestions, but bat removal is tricky business. If you leave even the slightest opening available, the bats will find their way back in and they become persistent, if you leave their droppings in place. The cost can be astronomical! After many quotes and consultations, much prayer and consideration, the leadership came to a decision and decided to approach the congregation with their findings. After the leadership team gave the congregation all the options for removing the bats, an older woman of the church simply said, “Can’t the pastor just baptize the bats? It seems to work on our young families.” Baptism is the sacrament we really don’t seem to understand and the one sacrament that in all our desire to be unified – divides us needlessly.

Luke’s telling of Jesus’ baptism is, well, unsatisfactory. It doesn’t give a mode of baptism (sprinkling, dunking, what constitutes holy water) or even the liturgy. It doesn’t clear up anything. It leaves us with this – Jesus with all the rest of the people were baptized. And, maybe that is all we need to know – about Jesus and about each other. We are connected to God and to each other in this state and it is a constant state – as God is always is. Think back to God sharing God’s name with Moses, I am who I am or I will be who I will be, it is always in the present tense and so is our baptism. A constant condition. This is good news!

Our baptism doesn’t grow old or wear out like clothing, but it is a cover that continues on with us and God does not remove it from us.

And what is the response of God upon our baptism? We are proclaimed beloved. In this relationship with God and with each other, we have the ability to explore the vastness of God and God’s grace without fear.

We become incorporated into the beauty of the family of God through God’s Church. Connected and upheld with all followers throughout the world over the span of all time and into the eternity of the Kingdom. This gives us so much more in common than what separates us. God is the universal connector of God’s Church. Part of this exploration is questioning and searching for deeper relationships and understanding of God and of each other. It is seeing with new eyes the world God has created around us and our part in it. Because of our baptism we can be truly free in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is a return to the state God meant for all of us at the very beginning, to be the children of God.

Let us pray:

Holy God, thank You for our baptism. In all the ways we can be unsure about ourselves, in our baptism we can be assured of our connection to You and to Your Church. Free us to live and love in the vastness of Your grace and to bear witness to this freedom by the promotion of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Closing Hymn #347 Spirit Song

1. O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love.

Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul.

O let Him have the things that hold you,

and His Spirit like a dove will descend upon your life and make you whole.

Refrain:

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

2.  O come and sing this song with gladness as your hearts are filled with joy.

Lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

O give Him all your tears and sadness; give Him all your years of pain,

And you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name.

Refrain

Benediction:  Go into this week with the blessings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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