St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church had Reverend Gary Gooch as pastor this Sunday. Neil Nichols served as the Lay Minister. The Readers were Arthur Clark and John Greve.
The First Reading was Isaiah 43:1-7. Again Isaiah assures the Israelites of God’s promises and love for them. He proclaims how they were created for God’s glory and are precious in his sight. He promises to one day gather them all together and they will again be one nation.
The Second Reading was Acts 8:14-17. Peter and John went to Samaria to baptize the ones who professed Jesus as their Savior. They prayed for the Holy Spirit to enter their souls when baptized.
Reverend Gooch read the Gospel of Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. This passage explains that John the Baptist baptized people who wanted to repent of their sins and begin a new life. He told them that when Jesus was baptized he received the Holy Spirit in bodily form like a Dove. God’s voice was heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Being baptized now would mean you would receive the Holy Spirit as your guide through life.
Reverend Gooch announced that today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. He received the Holy Spirit and God’s voice was heard claiming him as his Son and how pleased he was with him. This was a major turning point for Jesus’ life. Before this, Jesus had led a fairly normal life for thirty years. It was after receiving the Holy Spirit at his baptism that he received the power to heal and preach. It was the starting point of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Why was Jesus baptized? It was to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and begin his ministry of doing good and healing people. He wanted to bring peace to the world.
This is also a prototype of our own baptism. As Jesus was proclaimed as the Son of God, we become heirs adopted by God. We also receive power to go forth and do the work of God. Listen to God’s voice, “You are my beloved sons and daughters. I have adopted you as my own. Then we are to go forth and let others know about his love.
The Holy Spirit was a gift to enable us to do good. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to the church. Not just the disciples but all those who believed in Jesus would receive it. He expects us to continue his ministry and have the power. This power is not unlimited, but is for a particular purpose—to continue his ministry of doing good. We are to be a light into the nations, proclaiming the good news. The Holy Spirit is a power of love and gentleness meant to bring peace and knowledge to the world. God’s work in God’s way. We are baptized and adopted sons and daughters of God. He gives us power, wisdom, and knowledge to perform his will.
We continue our prayers for Herb Baker’s healing and for Jeanne Shepherd in her mission in Guatemala. Next Sunday the pastor will be Reverend Gina Frnka. We invite all to our Sunday morning service at 9 a.m.