Dec 28

Baptism of the Lord Sunday – Year B

Genesis 1:1-5

  • Go to your favorite party supply store and get some glow sticks (or glow bracelets, necklaces, etc) – specifically, I’m thinking of the kind that you have to “crack” to activate the stuff inside that glows.  When you read this passage (perhaps as a Call to Worship), have people all around the worship space holding bunches of these glow sticks.  At the point that you say “let there be light“, crack the glow sticks to activate them.  As the rest of the passage is read, distribute the glow sticks to the people.
  • If you are focusing on this passage in worship, consider decorating the worship space with a variety of things that give us light: lamps, candles, flashlights, light bulbs, etc.
  • Something to ponder: God sees that the light is “good”, but does that mean that God considers the darkness to be “bad”?

Psalm 29

  • “Water” is present in each of the readings today, so it is important to have water present in your worship decor.  If your baptismal font is not already regularly displayed prominently in your worship space, today is a really good day to make sure that it is visible (with water in it).
  • The Psalm reading gives us dramatic descriptions of the sound of God’s voice.  If you talk about this passage with the Children, you may want to have a sound effects CD with you (sounds of rushing waves, trees falling, thunder, rumbling earthquakes, rushing winds, etc).
  • The Psalmist suggests that we attribute to God “glory and strength”, as well as “the glory of God’s name”.  Are these the things that we attribute to God?  If not, why not?  If not, what is it that we do ascribe to God?

Acts 19:1-7

  • Every time I read this passage, I think, “That is a really strange question to ask some people you just met, Paul.”  It isn’t “normal” to ask someone whether or not they received the Holy Spirit when they became believers.  One might wonder what they were doing (or not doing) to prompt such a question.  Still, Paul asks them anyway – and, it turns out that they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit.  It seems as though they met John the Baptizer on an “off” day, since they claim to have not even heard of the Holy Spirit (which, at least according to the Mark reading, John spoke about in his preaching).  These disciples hear about Jesus from Paul, and are thus “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
  • Question to wrestle with: Were these disciples baptized again (with water, going through all the motions, etc), or was their baptism now made complete (more of a spiritual thing) in Christ?
  • Have we received the Holy Spirit?
  • I know that the liturgical color for this Sunday is traditionally White, but… since Red is the liturgical color that celebrates the Spirit, I see no reason not to use red (perhaps as an accent color – or at least as the color of your stole).

Mark 1:4-11

  • Do we listen for God’s voice at every baptism?  Maybe we should…
  • Interesting thing to remember: Jesus and John are cousins.
  • John baptized with the baptism of repentance (so says Paul in the Acts reading).  From what did Jesus need to repent?  What did his receiving this baptism show us (about Jesus, or about ourselves)?
  • There are echos of the Genesis reading in this passage.  Jesus is baptized (and blessed by the Spirit) in the wilderness – a formless place of chaos.  The Spirit of God moves over the formless chaos at the times of the creation described in Genesis, too…
  • An easy way for people to “remember their baptism” during the service: invite people to come forward and take a small stone from inside the water-filled baptismal font (I suggest small, blue marble-like stones that are available in most craft stores).


2 pings

  1. Eunice Woodberry

    Like the glow sticks during the call to worship. Hope to have kids process with them after the call to worship.
    How about having students play rhythm instruments to make the noises during the Psalm?

    1. Amy Loving

      I love the idea of using rhythm instruments during the Psalm! Kids of all ages can get into that! 🙂

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