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Did you hear that? Did you hear the voice from heaven say, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased”? Even if you missed the message, you can see the Spirit sitting on his shoulder “like a dove.” It is nothing short of a coronation. Much...
“Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world?” (Baptismal Covenant I, The United Methodist Book of Worship).
Water is an important theme throughout the Bible. The authors of scripture use water as an image of transition and sometimes challenge, and they tie it back to God’s renewing work. Isaiah records the divine promise that God will not abandon Israel, even if they pass through trying waters—a reference to the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. The psalmist declares that God’s voice covers all the waters, so nothing can come against us that is beyond God’s reach. In Acts we see the connection between baptism—passing through the water—and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The emphasis is on the inclusion of the Samaritans, a group considered unclean by many but not by God. We see clearly the connection between water baptism and the Spirit in the baptism of Jesus himself.
Read Isaiah 43:1-7. Isaiah presents an image of God’s favor that is at once particular and universal. How do you experience God’s love for you and for all persons as part of the body of Christ?
Read Psalm 29. God’s creation, in its wildness, incorporates destruction. In the face of disaster, how do you find a way to say, “Glory”?
Read Acts 8:14-17. Our baptism is in the name of Jesus and the name of the Spirit. To what wildness does the Spirit prompt you?
Read Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. Remember your baptism and listen for God’s call out into the wildness of the world.
Respond by posting a prayer.
I looked forward to each session of the 2021 Spiritual Formation in Today’s World, and I still consider it a sacred time in my life. It renewed my love for myself, strengthened my love for God, and inspired my love for others.” Read more...