together at home
a weekly practice of scripture, reflection, questions and prayer
Gather the cup, the plate and the bowl. Fill the bowl with water
and set all the elements before you as you consider the following:
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”… Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” - Mark 1:4-11, 14-15
Baptism is a calling on our life; it proclaims our vocation as the people of God.
In baptism, God declares that we are the beloved children of God. In baptism, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, Christ points us to the kingdom of God to which we are called. Lisa Sharon Harper writes in her book The Very Good Gospel, “John called [the people] to repent, to turn their backs on the human kind of peace that seeks the welfare of some through the domination and oppression of others. Be baptized, John preached, and embrace God’s peace for all!” She continues that when Christ came, he called out to the people (and us): “Repent and believe that God’s kind of peace- peace for all- is possible. Choose God’s way to shalom. Follow God. That is what citizenship in the Kingdom of God requires.” This is what our baptismal vocation is: to turn away from what is not of God; to seek peace for all people; to choose God’s way to shalom which is the flourishing of all things- the way of the kingdom of God.
1. When you read Lisa Sharon Harper’s words “Believe that God’s kind of peace- peace for all- is possible,” what comes to mind? What do you see? How does that make you feel? What would God’s peace look like?
2. What do you think God is calling you specifically? How are you called to repent, seek peace, and choose shalom in your: work place, family, neighborhood, city, state, country- in your little piece of the world?
God, you have called us your children. Christ, you have called us to be a part of the kingdom of God. Spirit, you descend to be with us as we move throughout this world. Help us to “be baptized… and embrace God’s peace for all!” Amen.
- Link to coloring page below.
Recommended children’s books:
- At Your Baptism by Carrie Steenwyk, John Witvliet and Linda Saport
- www.trillianewbell.com/gods-very-good-idea/God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell
(If you need help finding these books, talk to Pastor Emily!)
Featured Artwork: Bayou Baptism, by Lauren Wright Pittman