Our re-creation in baptism is an image of the Genesis creation, where the Spirit/wind moved over the waters. Both Mark’s gospel and the story in Acts make clear that it is the Spirit’s movement that distinguishes Jesus’ baptism from John’s. The Spirit has come upon us as upon Jesus and the Ephesians, calling us God’s beloved children and setting us on Jesus’ mission to re-create the world in the image of God’s vision of justice and peace.
Serving this Week:
Communion Alter Care: Betty B.
Counter: Betty B.
Readings this week:
First Reading: Genesis 1:1-5
Out of chaos, God brings order. Out of the primeval darkness, God brings light. This familiar story was good news for the Israelites, who experienced much chaos in their history. It remains good news for any person living in the chaos and darkness of despair. God created and continues to create new life.
1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Psalm: Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)
1Ascribe to the | Lord, you gods,
ascribe to the Lord glo- | ry and strength.
2Ascribe to the Lord the glory | due God’s name;
worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness.
3The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of | glory thunders;
the Lord is upon the | mighty waters.
4The voice of the Lord is a pow- | erful voice;
the voice of the Lord is a | voice of splendor. R
5The voice of the Lord breaks the | cedar trees;
the Lord breaks the ce- | dars of Lebanon;
6the Lord makes Lebanon skip | like a calf,
and Mount Hermon like a | young wild ox.
7The voice | of the Lord
bursts forth in | lightning flashes.
8The voice of the Lord| shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilder- | ness of Kadesh. R
9The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the | forests bare.
And in the temple of the Lord all are | crying, “Glory!”
10The Lord sits enthroned a- | bove the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for- | evermore.
11O Lord, give strength | to your people;
give them, O Lord, the bless- | ings of peace. R
Second Reading: Acts 19:1-7
In Ephesus, Paul encounters people who had received John’s baptism of repentance but had never heard of the Holy Spirit or of baptism in the name of Jesus. After Paul baptized them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and empowered them with gifts of the Spirit.
1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—7altogether there were about twelve of them.
Gospel: Mark 1:4-11
Mark’s gospel reports the story of Jesus’ baptism with some irony: the one on whom the Spirit descends is himself the one who will baptize others with the Holy Spirit.
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And 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. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He 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. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And 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. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”