Day of Epiphany
"On the Run"
Psalm 96:10-13 and Matthew 2:1-23
January 6 is the traditional day many churches celebrate "Epiphany." This year it falls on a Sunday. Our service will center around the arrival of philosopher-kings from the East, probably Zoroastrian priests, who came to honor the infant Jesus. Warning Mary and Joseph that they and the baby were in danger, they returned a different way and the little family fled to Egypt to find a safe haven. Epiphany traditionally represents the first involvement of Gentiles in the worship of the newly arrived Messiah.
Baptism of Jesus
Psalm 2:7-8 and Matthew 3:1-17
This Sunday we celebrate the baptism of Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. We will discuss baptism, what the baptism of Jesus signified, what it means for us to be baptized and why we baptize people. In our tradition, we baptize people after they are of an age of understanding and after they confess their faith in Jesus Christ. We will talk about the reasons we believe as we do and also about why we do not usually re-baptize those who have been baptized in another tradition, even if they were baptized as infants.
"Abide in Me"
On Sunday, January 20, we will have as our guest speaker, Pastor Stasia Fine. Pastor Stasia will use as her text John 15:-5, "Abide in Me." Pastor Stasia says that this is one of her favorite texts. It is also the theme text for the General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ, to be held this July 20-24 in Des Moines.
"On Being Blessed"
Psalm 1:1-3 and Matthew 5:1-20
This long passage represents the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” as recorded by Matthew. The entire sermon comprises Matthew 5-7. If I were in a place where I could not have the entire Bible in my possession, I would want to have those three chapters, Micah 6, a few sections of Philippians, and as many Psalms as I could fit in. These three chapters contain the essence of Christ’s teachings. In today’s scripture, we are taught that being blessed in eternal terms is much different than being blessed according to the world’s definition; that being blessed may not be easy. We also learn that our Christian witness is important, that only a small number of people truly living as Christians can change the world around them, and we are given a new way of looking at the laws God handed down as recorded in the Old Testament.