It's hard to believe that we are at the end of 2010 and about to begin another year. As you begin the new year I ask you to make at least one new resolution: to renew your baptismal covenant for the coming year. At our baptisms we, or our parents for us, made a public acceptance of God's grace, salvation, steadfast love, and unending forgiveness. We also promised to serve God and the church through our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. The beginning of a new year is a great time to renew that acceptance and promise. Therefore, please join us at our Sunday morning worship this week for our 1st Annual Covenant Renewal Service.
Our readings for this coming Sunday, the 2nd after Christmas, includes a couple of passages from the Apocrypha.
Jeremiah 31:7-14 - The Lord promises the return of all the lost and scattered Israelites. Those returning will not only include the healthy and able bodied people but even the sick, blind and lame. When they return, they will be amazed at the bounty that the Lord will give the people.
OR Sirach 24:1-12 - Sirach is a book of wisdom much like Proverbs. In this passage, Wisdom, which is female, tells her story. She came from the mouth of God from before time and covered the entire earth. Wisdom wandered the earth and God told her to settle on the people of Judah. Is this the "female" side of God and is this the Spirit of God?
Psalm 147:12-20 - The Psalmist calls on Jerusalem to praise God for he strengthens gates, blesses children, grants peace, gives wheat, gives snow, scatters frost, hurls hail, then melts them and the waters flow. Sounds like winter and spring in Minnesota.
OR Wisdom of Solomon 10: 15-21 - Another book of wisdom and our passage recounts how Wisdom (always female in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha) led Israel out of Egypt.
Ephesians 1:3-14 - Paul recounts how the Ephesians, and us also, have received the blessing of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ we have been chosen, made holy and blameless, adopted as God's children, redeemed through his blood, forgiveness of our trespasses, been told the mystery of his will, obtained an inheritance, so that we might live for the praise of his glory. We have also heard the word of truth, believed in him, and been marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit. All I can say is "WOW!"
John 1:(1-9) 10-18 - "In the beginning . . ." God and Word. Emmanuel and salvation. Holy Spirit and presence. We saw and heard the Word and we rejected it and killed it. Yet it lives on. For those who begin to see and understand and believe there is redemption. Jesus, full of grace and truth.
I pray that you are blessed by these readings this week.