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Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Lent  2019

March 31, 2019

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Sermon for Epiphany I 2019

January 13, 2019

Isaiah 43:1-7        Psalms 29             Acts 8:14-17           Luke 3:15-17, 21-22


     My favorite baptism story, forgive me if you have heard it before.  Early one Sunday morning a man was walking home after spending way too much time at a bar.  He was still feeling the effects of his drinking.  He wanders up to the river where the local church is baptizing people.  The preacher said, “Do you want to find Jesus?”  The man said “Sure.”  The preacher grabbed him and pushed him under the water.  He pulled the man up spewing water and said, “Have you found Jesus?”  The man slowly said, “No, no I haven’t.”  Surprised, the preacher grabbed the man again and pushed him under the water, this time for a little bit longer.  Again, as he pulled him up, he asked, “Have you found Jesus?”  The man gasping for air, water running out of his nose, mouth and ears said, “No, I haven’t. Are you sure this is where he fell in?”

       Have we found Jesus?  We are hearing about Jesus’ baptism today.   All four Gospels record the baptism of Jesus.  John the Baptizer is a heralder.  Important Roman officials of his day were always preceded by an announcer or a heralder.   When the heralder arrived in a town, the people knew that someone of importance was coming. 

      “You are my beloved Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”   Those are the words spoken to Jesus by the voice from heaven at his baptism.  For many years, this story made me uncomfortable.  When I heard other Bible stories, I had no trouble imagining myself in the scene, even sometimes as one of t