Oh, my beloved friends, what a gift last Sunday was. To see so many of you gathered in our sanctuary and online to honor Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Dr. Alvin Jackson and to hear such an inspiring word from Rev. Terri Hord Owens, my heart overflows. I hope you will join us this week as we gather again to worship a God who draws us to this church and to each other. This Sunday we will also give thanks to Saya Callner for her love and dedication to this community. We hope to see you there!
Well, it’s the new year. And with a new year comes resolutions. I have heard them all this year; lose weight, save money, drink more water, travel, learn a new language, etc. This list goes on and on. Do you have any that you are working on? One thing that I have noticed in talking with people about their resolutions is that they primarily focus on things that we feel need to be “fixed.”
Being fixed is a conversation that I like to stay away from. Largely because I don’t believe most things need to be fixed. “Fixing” is trying to go back on something that God has made anew. As we see in this week’s scripture, God is not a fixer, God is a giver of grace and renewal. Let’s read this week’s scripture from Mark 1:4-11.
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’ 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.’
God is at work in the love and grace of renewal. Those that John baptized were not fixed of sin, but forgiven and made anew. Jesus baptized was not a fixed person, but made anew in the baptism of community and grace. When the heavens tore open, God did not fix or repair them, God came through the heavens toward earth.
Church, what are we trying to hold together or fix that isn’t letting God through? What is God doing in our lives in the torn and broken areas that we keep trying to “fix,” where God had already started something new? Jesus did not need to be baptized but Jesus made a commitment in this act that connects each one of us to each other. And in that commitment from Jesus, and when we show up and commit to each other, God breaks opens that which seems closed, and breaks through into the world that often seems forgotten.
In this new year, I hope you know that when you are broken and torn apart, God is with you. Loving, Renewing, and committing to you. I hope you will make that same commitment to yourself.
To All Metro Association Churches and Members
All are encouraged to join the Metro Association's Social Justice Committee on Monday, January 15th, when we will hold our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. worship service in the sanctuary of Judson Memorial Church. There will be great music, beautiful dance, and a potent message from civil rights activist legend Ruby Sales.
Judson's front doors at 55 Washington Square South will open for a light breakfast at 9am.
The Service will begin at 10am, followed by a talkback with Ruby Sales.
Childcare will be provided.
The entire Social Justice Committee would love to see you there!
Saturday, January 20 at 11 AM - 3 PM
Central Park West & 72nd
Join the world! On January 20th NYC will raise its voice again to demand equality for all humans at the 2018 Women’s March on NYC.
Over the past year, basic rights for women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, the religious and nonreligious, people of color and even Mother Earth have struggled to survive under the weight of the current administration. America’s First Amendment has been challenged and healthcare for millions has been threatened. We must stand together to demand and defend our rights. Let your voice echo from the streets of New York City to the capital city. Show the world that red, white and blue are colors of tolerance.
1. PRAYER MINISTRY AFTER SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE. One of our Pastors, other Clergy or Elders are always happy to visit with persons who would like individual prayer after worship. Someone will be stationed in the Chancel area each Sunday.