Upcoming Service Notes: January 8, 2017, Baptism of Christ Sunday

The Second of the 12 Steps of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is this: “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  This Sunday is all about the epiphany of seeing that Higher Power made manifest  in nature and in our lives, and  especially in the transformational moment when Jesus came out of the River Jordan baptized by John, blessed by God and driven by the Holy Spirit to begin his ministry (Matthew 3:13-17).  The Higher Power is all about transforming our lives and our world to be more Spirit-filled and Spirit-led, to be more aligned with God’s realm of love and life and light, mercy and justice and peace.

The scriptures and music want to shake us and wake us to this truly amazing grace: we have access to this Higher Power! Isaiah says, “New things I now declare!”  (42:1-9) Psalm 29 describes the world-changing Power of God in a thunderstorm coming off of the Mediterranean Sea. We can be changed and be instruments of change in our world with the help of this Power. In fact, we are not fulfilling our calling and accepting the full gift that Christ offers us if we are not living as continually transformed and transforming people.  

The congregation will sing the “Hymn of Promise (In the Bulb There Is a Flower),” and “Lord Speak to Me, That I May Speak” and “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.”   The choir will sing “O Radiant Christ, Incarnate Word” and the African American spiritual, “Take me to the Water.”   Organist John Atwood will play “To the flowing waters of Babylon,” by  J. S. Bach and  “We march, we march joyfully”  and  “All the townspeople of Chartres”  both by  J.-F. Dandrieu.

Here is a recording of Nobel Peace Prize winner, theologian, doctor, master organist and Bach scholar, Alfred Schweitzer, playing the Bach piece John will play on Sunday:
And here is a beautiful version of the spiritual the choir will sing.  Be sure to watch all the way to the end!
 2016-07-16 21.24.00