a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

CTW: called by name

We have been claimed by the God who calls us children.
We, the redeemed, have been called by name.
As with the Israelites, God promises to pass with us through the water.
We will not fear, for God is with us!
The rivers shall not overwhelm us for God is our guide and our protector.
Through God’s saving grace, the waters that tested us
are now the waters that wash us and nourish us.
Great is the Fount of Every Blessing,
ever flowing, ever redeeming, ever claiming us as God’s children.
Come, let us worship the God who washes us in grace.

Submitted by Rev Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

Hymn: Thus Says the Lord, Our God

Below is a hymn that I recently composed that was inspired by the words of Isaiah 43:1-7, the Old Testament lectionary text for Baptism of the Lord Sunday (Year C) – January 10th, 2016.

It is dedicated to my dear friend, Rev. Joseph Taber, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Lowell, North Carolina on the event of his 29th birthday.

It is sung to the tune, ENGELBERG, (10.10.10.4) which is commonly used to sing the hymn “We Know That Christ is Raised.”

unnamed-2

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY. Permission is given for congregational use–please do not remove copyright information.

CTW: why?

Leader: Do not fear, for God has redeemed you!
People: I hear God say: “I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Leader: God gives all the treasures of the world in exchange for you!
People: Why?
Leader: The word of the Lord: “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.”
ALL: Alleluia! Let us worship the Lord!

based on Isaiah 43, Submitted by Rev. Mary Beene, Faith Presbyterian Church, Rincon, GA.

Sunday’s Coming: working toward January 13

To those in Orthodox Traditions: Merry Christmas!!

To those in Western traditions: Happy Epiphany!

And to all of us: it may only be Monday, but Sunday’s coming.

This Sunday, many of us in western traditions will be celebrating Baptism of the Lord–when all the readings are about water, choirs will sing River In Judea, and some more adventurous churches may even break out in song…”As I went down to the river to pray….”

Of course, this being Year C, the story of Jesus’ baptism is pretty sparse. Luke has done some cleaning up of the narrative until we’re left only with “and when Jesus also had been baptized…” (after “all the people”??)

Then again, we do get the soaring rhetoric of Isaiah. I just cannot resist that man’s golden pen. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…”

Maybe you’d like to take a twist on the baptism theme with “The voice of the Lord is over the waters….” Or perhaps you’d like to bring the Holy Spirit back to church on a day other than Pentecost.

Personally, I’ve been away (and LL has been on a mini-break), transitioning between two calls. This Sunday is my first in a new congregation–what better way to begin a new life together than with Baptism of the Lord Sunday? So I’ll be pondering new things and the call we receive (and have confirmed!) in our baptism. There may or may not be a reaffirmation of baptism–but if there is, I hope it has the excitement of Splash Mountain rather than the dreary winter drizzle.

What are you thinking this week? Will you be doing a reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant? If so, will you write new liturgy or use something from a denominational or other resource?

Imagine the confessions that could be written from that Isaiah reading. Or the call to worship from the psalm.

Leave your single droplets or fully formed rivers of ideas here, so we can create together!

thanksgiving for baptism

Water, water everywhere, even some to drink.
Water, water everywhere, in every tub and sink.

Water for all life on earth,
Water as witness to every new birth.

Water, longed for in deserts so bare.
Water, a gift so precious to share.

Water in bottles, in cups, in glasses,
Water washes our hands and our lashes.

Water carries God’s promise forever,
That nothing can us, from God’s love, sever.

Water, in baptism, carries the hope.
Water, in baptism, gets us cleaner than soap.

Water- tears, rain, ocean, river, or puddle,
Water makes us a family with whom no one can muddle.

Water, for this gift, O God, we have much gratitude.
Water, wash us again, bring us into right attitude. 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, AK.