Dear Familia, Happy New Year!!!

The Baptism of the Lord Sunday and the Season after the Epiphany takes us through January and February to the beginning of Lent. The word epiphany comes from a Greek word which means “to reveal” or shine. At Faithworks and following the Baptism of the Lord lesson, we will focus on Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” teachings from the gospel of Matthew. These teachings offer new ways of living in God’s ways and showing God’s light and love to the world.

Our focus Bible story is in the gospel of Matthew 3:13–17. The story happens when Jesus is an adult and it takes place by the Jordan River. Imagine what it would look like if we celebrated the baptism of Jesus more loudly than we celebrate Christmas? The prominence and importance of Jesus’ baptism is not usually reflected in the rhythms of our modern Christian traditions, yet all four gospels feature the baptism of Jesus. What made the baptism of Jesus so important? Through the universal symbol of water, Jesus models his invitation for all to move from indifference to awareness – a deeper awareness of just how deeply loved we are by a good and gracious God.

Not all our young people have had the opportunity to see a baptism in our church or in another church, so they may not fully understand what it is about. A central theme in our focus Bible reading is that all people of faith are called, like Jesus, to bring God’s reign of love and justice into the world. Our time together will provide an opportunity to confirm that we are God’s beloved, whether we have been baptized or not. Our young people will discover soon enough that the world can be a difficult place to share love and justice. They may be tempted to give up. But just as the Spirit blessed Jesus at baptism and accompanied him in his ministry, we hope that God’s spirit will be with us, sustaining and empowering us to live as God’s beloved as we go back to school, work and our different activities after the holidays.

All children and youth are welcome to join us for Bible story time and activities on the 2nd floor after the time of conversation with the pastor in worship. Childcare is available for children 4 and under on the 2nd floor as well.