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Sermon Archive 2017

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Vision and Pathway

comeandseeJohn 1: 35-42
Introduction to the reading
Last week we read the passage from Chapter 3 of the Gospel of Matthew relating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by his relative (his cousin?) John.  This baptism, I noted, serves to identify Jesus as the Son of God, to bless him and to commission him to proclaim God’s message of love, forgiveness, reconciliation and hope.  

John, the Baptizer, is a major character in today’s reading as well, from the Gospel of John.  Just prior, he has declared of Jesus:  “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! … I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.”  John also testifies to having seen the Holy Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and resting upon Jesus.  “And I myself have seen,” he says, “and testified that this Jesus is the Son of God.”

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voiceofgod1Matthew 3: 12-17
Isaiah 42: 1-9

Introduction to the reading
Time moves quickly.  Jesus, now grown, has not yet begun his ministry.  Two events happen first:  1) Jesus is baptized and 2) Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness.  In the passage for today, Matthew recounts the first event, the baptism.  

Note:  to fulfill all righteousness – that is, to let things happen according to God’s plan and purposes for the world.  The appearance, then, of the dove descending from heaven demonstrates that Jesus’ essential and true identity is inextricably tied to the activity of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence in and for the world.

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After Christmas

threemagiMatthew 2: 1-12 and 13-23
Introduction to the reading

The Christmas pageant tableau is now complete; the three Wise Men have arrived at the stable in Bethlehem.  How that came about was our first reading for today, Matthew 2: 1-12.  In Church tradition, the visit of the Magi is called the Epiphany, the revelation of God incarnate to the Gentiles and thence to the whole world beyond Israel, and celebrated on January 6, twelve days after Christmas.  

The Magi were about as distant from Judaism as possible, both geographically and theologically, but they were the ones who recognized that the newborn Jesus was truly Immanuel, God with us.  Their arrival seems to be the fulfillment of the poetic prophecy of Isaiah...

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khenryRev. Kathryn Henry
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