Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/10/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Linde Linde
Bloomfield Christ Memorial UMC
Verdigre UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Cathy Cole
Center UCC
Creighton Faith United UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Glenn Loy
Elgin, NE UMC
Elkhorn Valley District
Janene Reynolds
Ewing UMC-Presbyterian

Today's Lectionary Text

Mark 1:9-11

About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

Today's Devotional

Today we mark the Baptism of the Lord. In many congregations this is a time for services in which we remember our own baptismal vows – or maybe even with an actual baptism.
 
Any time I can preside at a baptism I am filled with joy. When I retired a couple of years ago, I assumed my days of baptizing were over. So, imagine my joy when my niece asked me to baptize her daughter a few months ago!
 
And today, I find myself leading a worship service in which we will be remembering our baptismal vows. I didn’t expect to be doing this again, either. But I have been serving as interim pastor at my home church for the last couple of months while the appointed pastor has been on maternity leave. This service is a little different than any such service of remembrance I have done in the past, thanks to COVID-19. Like most Great Plains churches these days, we are only doing virtual worship, so how do you make this happen? As with many other celebrations these days, with a little imagination.
 
But more important than the “how” is the “why” in this remembrance. Why bother? United Methodists believe that baptism is a “once only” sacrament – unlike Holy Communion, in which we rehearse the Last Supper frequently. Consequently, it is easy to forget the promises made when we are baptized. Yet the questions asked at baptism are central to how we practice our faith. Do we renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of the world, and repent of our sins? Do we accept the freedom and power that God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression? Do we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, putting our whole trust in his grace?
 
In baptism we follow the example Jesus gave us. In our Christian walk we strive to follow Jesus’ teachings – all of which encompass the very things covered in the baptismal questions. I believe it is a good thing to renew our baptismal vows on a regular basis – simply to remind us of whose we are and what he asks of us.
 
                                                                                                --Rev. Robbie Fall, retired elder
                                                                                                Hutchinson

Prayer for Reflection

Holy God, help us remember – not just once a year, but every day – that we have promised to trust in the grace you offer through your Son and to follow where he leads us. Amen.
 
 

 

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