Grace and Greetings.
Though the picture on the left was taken last May, the cold is settling in around us now. As I wrote yesterday, the Interior gets colder extremes than we do here in Barrow. Tonight, the air temperature is around -40 and the wind chill is around -55. But last week in Tok, Alaska, the thermometer hit -80 degrees. Now that is cold.
Here is my offering for Sunday Night's Service, it is titled, "Baptized in the Spirit", based on Mark 1.4-11
This weekend is the Baptism of the Lord Sunday. It is a day that we remember the importance of baptism in the life of the Christian. As we heard in the Gospel reading tonight, Jesus started off his ministry by being baptized by John the Baptist, and then going out into the wilderness. During the baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, as a dove. Doves have been God’s messengers from the beginning of time, Noah sent out a dove to find dry land following the flood.
Think back to your own baptism if possible. There are some here who probably were baptized as an older child or adult and can remember; others of us were baptized as infants or small children and cannot remember. If you cannot remember, try to remember of the last time you were present at a baptism, whether it was last month here, or maybe some other place. Baptisms are always public events, it is something that the community of the church comes together to celebrate. It is a time to witness vows, to renew vows and a time to celebrate that we have responded to God’s call to be a part of the family of God.
But baptism is not just the start of our journey with God, it is also a time we receive the Spirit of God. As small children we do not remember or felt anything other than the water upon the head. As older children or adults, we may feel good inside, but not sure exactly why. For most, the feeling is probably forgotten by dinner time; but the Spirit of God continues to work in us, through us and for us whether we are conscience of anything happening on our behalf or not.
Imagine yourselves coming out of the River Jordan, and the Spirit of God descending on you, blessing you and calling you beloved. I challenge you to be aware of God’s Spirit filling you this week. Be attentive to the movements of your spiritual lives. In your daily prayers, ask God to show you the power of the Spirit that lives in you; to give you the wakefulness of God’s grace and blessings. Pray that the Spirit use you to bring about God’s realm here on Earth as well as in Heaven. Pray that the Spirit flow through our church and community, restoring lost lives; healing old wounds; guiding us into the reality that we may show others, God is indeed alive not only in Barrow, Alaska, but wherever God’s creation is found.
Know that in our baptisms, God’s promises to be with us always. We make vows to raise our children, ourselves and each other in Christian understanding and teachings. God’s Spirit descends upon us, feel the Spirit using you in every situation you find your selves in. Just as Jesus rose out of the water, hear these words for you as well, “You are my Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
Peace and blessings.