Community in Action August 21, 2020

So I heard someone singing this song yesterday: 

        “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, 

          But the fire is so delightful, 

          And since we've no place to go,

          Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

    Now the words don’t usually ring true at this time of year, but the heat, the fires and the smoke seem to fit with the first line at least. And wouldn’t it be great if we had some snow in August, especially during this heat wave.

    As most of you know now we will not have Outdoor Worship this Sunday. The pristine air quality in Dublin is still recovering from the fires this week. Again we get to change our plans, at least this time you won’t have to bring an umbrella to Worship.

    I am sad because we had planned to have an Outdoor Baptism this Sunday, instead it will be virtual, in the Sanctuary. So please celebrate with me the Baptism of Allison Baker this Sunday. It will be a reminder of what so many of you have experienced yourselves, perhaps not the virtual part, but definitely the baptism part.

    Of course some of you were baptized as an infant and you may not remember that event, but still we follow Paul’s lead in Acts 16 were he and Silas baptized the entire household of the Philippian Jailer.

    The baptism of the household followed two traditions actually. First, in the Ancient Near East (ANE), it was generally accepted that the male head of the household made the decision as to which god the family would worship. Secondly, the Hebrew tradition was to circumcise all males at the age of eight days old as sign of the covenant with their God. If a male person chose to become a Hebrew or Jew they would also be asked to become circumcised. Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 gives us the new covenant signature of baptism.

    This is of course the reason for the controversy regarding Gentiles becoming Christians without first being circumcised, which Paul addresses in Galatians. The first followers of Jesus were actually all Jews. They were known as the people of the Way, a sect of Judaism. Therefore to become a follower of the Way you had to first go through the Jewish rituals, therefore if you were a Gentile you would need to be circumcised.

    It wasn’t till later when followers of the Way became distinct from being Jewish, partly because so many followers were coming from a Gentile background. Peter has a revelation for God in Acts 10 which pointed out that which they thought was unclean or unacceptable was no longer so. In that chapter after the vision Peter is called to visit a Gentile Cornelius. The people with Cornelius exhibited the gift of the Holy Spirit after Peter preached to them so Peter announced that they should all be baptized. They should become part of the movement of the Way.

    Back to Paul, we read in Acts 15 how Paul was sent by the Jerusalem church to preach to the Gentiles. This became his primary calling and he established churches throughout Asia Minor and forayed into Europe. He had plans to go to Spain, but we believe he never made it. Instead he was sent to Rome and there he continued to preach and minister to those he could.

    So Sunday we follow the tradition of baptism by baptizing one who has heard the call of God and longs to be sealed by the Holy Spirit as a member of God’s kingdom.

    Please join us for our Virtual Worship at 9:30 am as we celebrate the God who has chosen us to be ambassadors to the world with the Good News of Jesus.

    So, whatever the weather we will be here and hope to see you on Sunday through the miracle of Facebook Live. Please celebrate with us, come snow or shine.


    Pastor Randy


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