Good morning folks, here is this weeks Sunday Service. Today we are looking at the Baptism of Jesus, and as the Bible tells us that “all Scripture is for teaching” we know that there is a lesson here for our own lives, aye but what is it? Take a comfy seat and find out what that means for you. Take care and keep warm, God bless. Iain
The Baptism of Christ
Good morning all, How are you today? Keeping safe and warm I hope. And remember that if you are struggling or in any kind of need, please contact one of the many helplines or phone numbers of those who will be more than happy and willing to help you.
Well, as you might have guessed from the that verse at the beginning – to day we are talking about Baptism – the Baptism of Christ to be precise.
He was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist, in the River Jordan…
But before that, let us pray,
Almighty God, our God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, from our different homes, we unite in giving you our heartfelt praises and worship.
We come to acknowledge your greatness, to celebrate your great love for each of us.
What an amazing God you are.
You know each one of us better than we know ourselves – watching over us, wanting the best for us – wishing we would give our lives fully to you.
Help us, guide us we pray that we might take time out of our busy lives to learn more about your ways so that our lives might be more fulfilled, more contented and comforted.
Bless our families, friends, neighbours and those we love and those we ought to love.
Forgive us, we pray, when we wander from your path, saying, doing and thinking things which we know are not in accordance with your ways. Draw us back on to your path, living your way, so that through our everyday lives – you can be proud of us, your faithful children.
Hear now our personal prayers of confession as we think of the times we fall short of what you would expect of us – and we bring them to you now – in our silent prayers – and we take a short time for our own private and personal prayers………and here we take time for your your own personal prayers…………………..
Forgive us Father, bless us we pray – and hear us now as we pray the prayer which brings us together as one family – your family – the Lord’s prayer –
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 debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.
As I said earlier – today we are talking about the Baptism of Jesus.
And our reading is from Matthew’s Gospel is a narrative of all that took place on the banks of the River Jordan that day ~
Matthew 3 : 13 – 17 New International Version – UK
“The Baptism of Jesus.”
Let us hear the word of God.
“As the crowds were gathering to be Baptized – Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and yet, you come to me?’
15 Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he rose up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God.
That’s an amazing reading I always think – it conjours up clear images in my head – and well – before we get too far – I’m sure you’ll be disappointed to hear that instead of a sermon – I’m going to read to you piece I wrote a few years ago – it’s called –
A Day Dream… or was it?
Perhaps you would like to make yourself comfortable and close your eyes and imagine the scene I am about to describe to you –
Look around, see of you can see the river, feel the breeze, see all that is going on – so relax and take it all in –
A Day Dream… or was it?
It was a lovely, warm summer’s day as I strolled beside the winding Highland stream. I would often go fishing there in it’s pools as a
as a child.
The soft wind was making patterns in the long green grass which blew this way and that, like corn blowing in a corn field.
I could hear the water guttering around the stones in the burn – the birds were singing their praises and giving thanks for such a beautiful day.
It was an idyllic scene – but my mind was troubled.
As I ambled along, taking in all that surrounded me, I struggled with many issues.
My life was in turmoil and my faith was in tatters. What was I to do? How could God let this happen? Hadn’t I always been a regular church goer, always willing to help out at coffee mornings or sell raffle tickets for charity?
As these thoughts raced through my mind, I noticed a wooden seat some way off. I often walked this way but hadn’t noticed it before.
As I got closer I saw a small brass plaque which simply said “All things bright and beautiful, the Lord God made them all” – I remembered the words from my Sunday School days and somehow they gave me comfort.
I sat on the seat and thought over my troubles and felt the heat of the wooden back rest which had been warmed by the sun, creep through to my skin, that gave me a measure of comfort too.
I felt my body relax and I must have dozed off for a few moments – but I was soon wakened by the sound of voices and splashing water.
Looking up I saw a group of men, women and children standing by the stream; they were wearing white robes, some were soaked and others dry. Some were laughing and others praying.
They were watching as a tall bearded man held the head of another man under the water for a few seconds.
The wee burn was now a flowing river and the group stood at what seemed to be a shallow crossing.
My instinct was to rub my eyes thinking it was a dream but after a few blinks I looked up – the group were still there! What was going on? Was I losing my mind, or perhaps hallucinating? I don’t know but I can assure you that I saw it all as clear as day.
Suddenly the man under the water burst up and out of the water, but it was the strangest thing, everything seemed to go into slow motion for a few seconds – like from one of those classic films. He slowly appeared from beneath the surface and as he did so, a pure white dove came down and settled on his head.
The crowd gasped and then a great hush came upon them as they looked up towards the skies. It was as if they were listening to something or some-one; and then I heard it – “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased!” the voice said.
My mind and my heart were racing – was I witnessing…? Could he really be..? But how could it be?
Had I just witnessed the baptism of Jesus – but how could that be possible?
I know the Bible says that “nothing is impossible for God” but this seemed to stretch that a bit far.
‘Things like this don’t happen to people like me’ I thought – but it had!
I shook my head and rubbed my eyes once more – and when I opened them, all was silent. The group had gone, the river was now a stream again and the birds were singing as before.
I looked around, wondering if anyone else had seen this amazing scene – but I was alone, with not a sound except for the guttering burn, the birdsong and the warm breeze which caressed my face.
As I sat and pondered my short but powerful experience, I wondered if there was a reason or purpose to what had just occurred.
I thought about baptism and recalled the Minister once saying the baptism was about new beginnings – a throwing off of the old and putting on the new, renewing, rejuvenating and refreshing our lives.
And the Dove was a symbol of God’s blessing – giving the power to go out and begin a new life – new, positive, way of life…
Then it struck me, hitting me like a bolt of lightning – that was it!
I was to put my old downhearted ways behind me, be positive and go forward with a renewed energy and strength, safe in the knowledge that I was not travelling alone.
I felt regenerated and motivated to sort my life out – not to leave it all up to God but to take responsibility for my life, and to work with God to change what needed to be changed.
I knew that some things would be harder to resolve than others , like my pain, my loneliness but at that moment I felt healed, if not in body then in mind and soul.
I could cope with whatever lay ahead, knowing that I was being held safely in the very palm of God’s hand – and that He had a plan for me, just as He has for each one of us.
If I was to be taken into that ‘heavenly’ place soon, then so be it, how wonderful that would be.
I would miss my family, of course, but I was certain that we would meet again – I new that there was NO WAY such a loving God would separate me from my loved ones either in this world or the next – and this would be but a temporary parting.
I saw that it isn’t just about attending church – coffee mornings or raffle tickets; it is about God’s love for me and more importantly – my love for him.
It isn’t about what is going on around me, but what is going on inside of me, in my heart.
I jumped up from that warm seat and as I hurried home.
I vowed to make amends for the many things that were wrong in my life, while I still had time.
I would ask forgiveness from those I may have upset – and visit my friends and tell them I love them.
I would count my blessings instead of numbering my troubles.
On that warm summer’s day, I realized just how very blessed I am – and how short was the time.
Open your heart and your mind to God – and you will be richly blessed too – and that is a promise.
Thanks be to God.
I have walked that way a few times since that day – but have never found that wooden seat again.
But it was just a day dream……. or was it??
Either way – it certainly changed my life..
Let us pray –
All loving, listening Father – I thank you for always being there for me – in my sadness and my times of celebration.
Remind me that you are watching over me – caring for me – guiding me – if I would only take the time to hear your words to me.
You bless me beyond my deserving – and for that I will be eternally grateful – and may I live a life worthy of your kindness – a life worthy of being a “child in whom you can be well pleased.”
Food for thought
We see from that baptism of Jesus –that the Holy Spirit came upon Him – in the form of a Dove – giving Him the power, the spirit, the HOLY spirit of God – changing him from a boy from Galilee to a ‘man on a Mission.’
It gave Him authority and purpose to go about God’s business.
Sometime we need a push, a kick start if you like – to go out and do what needs to be done… to fulfil our purpose, our calling – whatever that may be.
I heard a wee story which might give us some ‘food for thought’ for us to take away and think about ~
People without a purpose are like Alice in the fairy tale Alice in Wonderland.
In a conversation between her and the Cheshire Cat, Alice asked, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where I go,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.
Are you like so many in the world , not sure where to go – and even less sure how to get there.
You were created for a purpose – and you have an assurance that you have the wonderful love of Jesus as you travel along life’s road.
Some already know what God wants them to do.
Are you fulfilling God’s plan for your life – or are you just filling your days doing ‘this and that’ to pass the time?
If you’re not sure – ask God –
Think about it, pray about it and then set about it – and one day – you too will know the joy of being received in to heaven and hear those wonderful words –
“Well done thou good and faithful servant – enter now into the kingdom of god”
And that IS a promise – in Jesus’ name. Amen.
And now –
Live in Hope, Love and joy –
Live with God’s love in your heart – and His hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..
And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father – Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families, friends, those you know and love, aye, and ought to love – this day – and every day.
Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.
Have good week – and Please – keep safe
You can also hear this Service on the Audio version.
Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.