The Holiday Season seemed to come and go all too quickly. The festive decorations are back in their boxes, the new calendars are upon the walls and we get back to business as usual. In the Lectionary calendar, that many denominations follow, the focus becomes the gospel of Luke. The second Sunday of the year is known as “Baptism of the Lord Sunday” and our reading here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian this coming Sunday will be from Luke3:15-22. (Our sermon from the last Sunday in the year can be found here.)
There’s a little detail in Luke's account of the baptism of Jesus that is easily missed. He tells us that the Holy Spirit did not alight upon Jesus at the moment He was baptized, but that the heavens opened as He was praying. Luke 3:21 reads; "Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven opened."
In religious life there are things we need to do together and things we can only experience for ourselves… on a one-to-one with God basis.
Baptism is one of the together things. So are Communion and corporate worship. There are many mission adventures that we cannot embark upon alone. From the start “Church” has been all about community.
But there is also a very personal side. On a personal level we need to develop a living faith in Jesus Christ that is energized through prayer. Time and time again Jesus withdraws to lonely places to recharge His spiritual batteries one on one with God. If such a practice was necessary for Him, how much more so for us!
A wonderful New Year resolution to make is "BE PRAYERFUL." It is as we pray, that the Holy Spirit transforms our life journeys. It was when Jesus prayed that the Spirit came and empowered Him for the journey ahead.
If we want to be a real treasure to our church, to our family, to those we love, to our community, and we value our own personal growth and our own well-being, then let 2019 be a prayerful year.
This is a win-win resolution to make. We are not being asked to give anything up. We are being invited to deepen our relationship with God. We are being invited to a deeper fellowship with God and a deeper experience of God’s love.
For some music Tauren Wells sings "When We Pray."
Prayer: "Lord, help me to make 2019 a year of prayerful journeying. Amen."
The Reverend Adrian J.Pratt B.D.