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Getting Out the WORD - the baptism of our lord
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 13:00

the PRAYER. . .

Holy God, creator of light and giver of goodness, your voice moves over the waters. Immerse us in your grace, and transform us by your Spirit, that we may follow after your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

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."            (Mark 1:4-11 )

the DEVOTION. . .


According to the Rev. Dr. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D. - Director of Biblical Education Programs at Loyola Institute of Spirituality in Orange, CA - there are 11,304 words in Mark's Gospel.  So, what are the odds that one of those words - the word  'torn' - a word used only twice in Mark - just happens to appear in the places it does?  Once, in the beginning, at the river!  And again, at the end, on the cross!

Mark 1:10 : 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 Mark 15:38 : Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two,

from top to bottom. . . .

What are the odds? Especially, when halfway in between, Jesus tells his disciples that baptism and the cross are the same thing!


"Torn apart!" "Torn in two!" The good news is that God is coming!  In Jesus’ baptism! In his suffering!  His dying!  His rising!  God is coming into the world!  To rescue!  To redeem!  And nothing!  No one!  Can get in the way!  But If anyone. . .  if anything. . .  should try. . . to hold god back. . .  to box god in. . .  to keep god away. . . a curtain. . .  the heavens. . .  Well, let's just say, love isn't god's wish for the world.  It's god's will!

bob barndt, pastor
Getting Out the WORD - the name of jesus
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 04 January 2012 10:19

the PRAYER. . .

Eternal Father, you gave your incarnate Son the holy name of Jesus to be a sign of our salvation. Plant in every heart the love of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING. . .

After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:15-21 )

the DEVOTION. . .


It's hard to tell just by looking. . .  but it's STILL Christmas!  At least, it is here in the church!  It's day 11 and the pipers are apiping!  But, from the looks of the world around us, you'd never guess!  We haven't heard a carol since noon on Christmas day.  The tree's back in the box.  Paper and boxes at the dump or in a recycle bin.  The light hasn't been overcome by darkness.  We've simply turned it off!  But, here in the church, it's STILL Christmas. . .  at least, for one more day!


You see, it takes time for something big - something like Christmas - to happen!  It takes time to save and to rescue and to deliver!  It takes time for god to accomplish what god dreams of doing!  And the birth of "the child lying in a manger" is only the beginning.  Conceived!  Carried!  Born!  Circumcised!  Named!  Before Jesus does anything, he has to grow up. . .  to learn. . .  to mature. . .  Salvation doesn't happen overnight.  It doesn't, even, happen in a week or a month or a year.  It takes time!  Sometimes a lifetime!


Luke tells us that it was "In the sixth month" that the angel came to Mary.  "After eight days had passed," he was named.  He was forty days old when Joseph and Mary first went to the temple.  "When he was twelve years old," he was sitting among the teachers!  "Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. . . ."  Forty days tempted in the Wilderness.  And December 25th was just the start!


No.  The kingdom doesn't come all at once. . .  in the blink of an eye. . .  at the blast of a trumpet. . .  It comes one breath. . .  one heartbeat. . .  at a time. . .

bob barndt, pastor
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