Blessings to you All!
As we continue with reflecting on 'Who Is Jesus?' - this coming Sunday we will explore 'Jesus as teacher'. Many times Jesus taught through sharing parables. We might feel that we know these stories well, but perhaps sometimes we miss how they can be something new to us each time. As our circumstances change, and as we grow in our faith journeys, scripture can speak to us in new ways.
So, today, I offer you an opportunity to pause and pray with the scripture. Click on the link below from The Prayer Bench and allow Janice to gently guide you through in a short video - you might be surprised by how an old familiar story suddenly becomes new and fresh again!
Praying the Scripture video
Blessings to you All,
On Sunday we thought about the Baptism of Jesus, and how we can reflect on our baptism as a daily blessing.
When I read a devotional blog on Sunday, I found this reflection from Rev. Mary Lutti very interesting, so I thought I'd share it with you so you can continue to reflect on baptism:
Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into a wilderness. There he struggled with a Tempter who tried to make him doubt the voice that named him Beloved Child. “If you are God’s son…”, Satan prefaced the temptations. But Jesus remembered who he was. There was no “if.” Assured of God’s approval and drenched with the Spirit, he blew the Tempter away.
Whenever the great reformer Martin Luther was in trouble, tormented, tempted, and afraid (he often was), he’d tell himself that he was baptized: “Baptizatus sum”—“I am baptized.” Over and over he’d remind his beleaguered heart who he was: a beloved child of God whose life was forever entwined with Christ’s. He said it blew the demons away.
I used to teach a class about sacraments. Every semester I found that many students didn’t know when they were baptized. Birthdays they knew, and other anniversaries. But not the day a voice from heaven called them beloved and their lives were forever joined to Christ’s. I encouraged them to find out and celebrate that gift.
And I hoped that whenever things got rough (they always do), they’d call on its grace. I hoped they’d remember that they are in Christ, fully known and loved. I hoped they’d remind their frightened hearts, “I am baptized.” I hoped it would make them brave and blow the Devil away.
If you are feeling a bit down or struggling a little today, or any day, remind yourself that you are baptized as God's beloved child. You are blessed! Mary Lutti offers this prayer:
By your grace, O God, I am known and loved. My life is joined to Christ’s forever. I am not afraid.
Peace, Rev. Gail
Tomorrow is the day of Epiphany. Perhaps you are already aware of the ancient custom of Chalking Your Door on this festival day as a way of blessing your homes and families?
The custom is that you take a piece of chalk and mark the year, and the letters CMB. These letters refer to both the legendary names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchoir and Balthasar) as well as the Latin phrase 'Christus mansionem benedict' (May Christ bless this house).
If there are more than one person in a household, then it is tradition for the oldest and the youngest to take turns to chalk the letters: 20*C*M*B*22 on the mantel above the door (or on the door). As they chalk, they usually say the following:
"let us consecrate this door and the home it protects to Christ. Let this door be the threshold that leads both ways to the blessings of God."
The dweller(s) of the house then stand at the threshold with a lit candle and say a blessing such as :
"As the Magi followed the light of the star, we too follow the light of Christ to be a place of welcome, a people of generosity, and a dwelling place for God. Let us ask God to open our hearts so that, as the door of this home is opened to neighbors and travelers, this home may be a source of welcome for all in need and place where Christ is found."
Blessings and Peace to you and your families on Epiphany, as you intentionally welcome Christ into your homes!
Each Wednesday we send out an inspirational message.