Good morning dear friends! It's a beautiful sunrise this morning and I am thinking of the ancient church practice of baptizing in the dark of the morning and coming out of the baptismal pools as the sun rises and shines light on the new day. The light shines!
We learned yesterday that there was such deep symbolism in the many particularities of their baptismal rituals. This week I commend to you the 3 basins in which we gathered around yesterday as we remembered our baptisms: the cleanings basin, the baptismal basin and the servant's basin.
How do these basins inform your understanding of your baptism? How do you feel cleansed, beloved and called? Consider those and other questions you might have when reflecting on the gift of baptism.
I will be leaving on vacation this week and am so grateful to the Rev. Dr. Becky McNeil and to Lisa Rygiel who will be leading our services on both January 16 and 23. I look forward to seeing you in person again on the 30th!
Blessings, prayers and with love,
This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):
"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord"
In prayer, we ask in His name: Comfort for those in mourning, including family and friends of Harold Karspeck (Steve's Dad); Betty Garcia; Chuck Smithy; Jim Ingle (Margaret Gumke's brother); Mrs. Nyzer; Dennis Christianson (Mark Nelson's friend); and Irene Pearson.
We pray for and surround with God's healing touch all those impacted by the recent Boulder County fires, including Hal and Rita's daughter and family who lost their home; those impacted by the recent tornadoes in our country; and those farmers and ranchers who lost so much in the recent fires and windstorms in Kansas.
We also pray for Gregory Weida; Paula Little; Lisa Rygiel; Mary McKenna; Cindy Rodriguez; Dale Krueger; Brent Kapling; Mike Blackmore; Cora Warrick and son Tyler; Carol Schulzkump, her son Kris and DIL Ana; JoAnn's sister Beth; Steve Karspeck's SIL Deena; Floyd Gumke; Wilmae and Sherry Gartside; Lisa Rygiel's parents; Loren Eigenburg; and the Sandstead family.
We surround with prayers those battling cancer, including Jeanine Tapia; Rick Barian (Lynn's friend); Rick Spaulding (Paula's BIL); Gary Miller; Marci Guard; Lynn's brother Kenny; Nancy Wilhelm (Ernie and Sharon's family member); Linda Bounds; Norine's step-daughter Sherry; Jo Moss' cousin Virginia; Kimber Begano; Dr. Mark Jacobson; Linda Theige's BIL Pastor Bob; and Francis Baldwin and Max Phillips (both friends of Mark and Jo Moss). We also pray for those affected by COVID, including Patty Thomas (Jeff Smith's cousin); Rozella Tapia; Pastor Clay and his wife Mary; the Pearson family; the Ramirez family; Natalie Lugan; and Loren Eigenburg's daughter, Loren.
Our prayers continue for Wal-reat (missionary in Sudan we support financially through Global Missions); The Way ministry; ACTS ministry; and the prison congregation New Beginnings and Pastor Schjang.
Other announcements/dates to put on your calendar:
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus provides 175-gallons of wine for a newly married couple. Whatever for?! Come to worship and hear about God’s good news in Christ.
The Readings in the Bible
In the Mediterranean world of the late first century, the Dionysus cult was popular. According to the myth, Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest and the son of the high god Father Zeus, provided vast amounts of wine for his celebrative followers who then joined in ritual ecstasy. The Dionysian feast was celebrated on January 6, on which date some Christians came to read John 2. Although some interpreters resist seeing Dionysus behind the narrative of Cana, others view this explanation as the most likely impulse behind this Johannine messianic “sign,” which is so markedly different from the miracles of divine healing. The jars contain about 175 gallons. The wedding occurs “on the third day,” a hidden reference to the resurrection, and on the seventh day in this gospel’s account of the new creation in Christ. For the fourth evangelist, it is Jesus Christ who is the true son of the true God. Yet the glory of this God will come on the cross, rather than in ritual ecstasy. As well, the fourth evangelist may be echoing the messianic poems by the Israelite prophets, in which plentiful wine will be served at the end of time.
Third Isaiah, compiled in the fifth century bce, is filled with exuberant poetic imagery about the goodness of the return from exile. In today’s excerpt, especially the restored city of Jerusalem is lauded. Even without a king, the city itself and its residents will wear a crown. Verses 3-5 describe the people’s joy using the sexual imagery of the joyous married couple.
In this section of the letter to the Christians in Corinth, written in about 54, Paul is advising the community about its life as the one body of Christ. The ecstatic spiritualities of some religious communities, for example the Dionysian cult, stand behind Paul’s call for spiritual gifts that are doctrinally sound and communally supportive. Paul’s description indicates his hope for a nonhierarchical community in Christ. The “tongues” of which Paul writes was glossolalia, which Paul stipulated must be followed by verbal interpretation.