Messy Church is this Wednesday January 10th. The theme is John the Baptist. There is a really great adult craft of paper marbling using shaving cream of all things. It is really amazing. Supper will be fish and chips. There will be raindrop sun catchers, colourful doves, edible ‘locusts’ and more.
Doors open at 5:00, but come when you can.
Here is a reflection on our theme for this month:
John the Baptist, according to the account given in Luke, was related to Jesus. Their mothers were relatives and Mary went to stay with Elizabeth when both of them were pregnant. John’s ministry began before Jesus began his ministry. John came out of the wilderness to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus. The people’s relationship with God had once again deteriorated and the time had arrived when God himself, as Jesus, would come and live among the people, to show them how to live as people of the living God. It was John who ‘plowed the field’ to make things ready for the planting of the seed.
I am sure that the people of that time had the same misconceptions that we also have, that a messenger from God would look courtly, not like a wild man eating grasshoppers and honey and wearing rough clothes. A man whose words were rough and straightforward. A man who paid no heed to rank or power, but told people what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear. He stood on the banks of the river Jordan ‘proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’.
Repentance means to turn away from the things that drive you away from God and others and to turn back to God and the way of love. Only when that turn has happened, and the desire to grow into the person God created you to be has taken root will the evil desires loose their grip. Then forgiveness, with its compelling need to make amends, will happen.
John was very clear what that looked like. He spoke of the trees that did not bear good fruit, being cut down and thrown into the fire. He went on to give them specific instructions. If you have two coats, share with someone who has none. Do not use your power and authority to take what does not belong to you. The people recognized the power of John’s message and flocked to the Jordan to listen and to be immersed in the healing waters of baptism. Even Herod, the ruler of the land, was not spared from John’s sharp tongue. John knew however, that he was the messenger, that there was the one who was yet to come.
One day, Jesus came to the banks of the Jordan, to hear John’s message, to enter into John’s baptism. John recognized who he was immediately and in Matthew’s gospel, we hear the details of that meeting. John felt that it was he, John, who should be baptized by Jesus, but Jesus would have none of it, and so John baptized Jesus. When Jesus came up out of the water, Jesus saw the heavens open and the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on him. He heard a voice from heaven say, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus then went into the wilderness for forty days to meditate and to seek God’s guidance about the mission that had been given to him from the beginning of time. His baptism in the Jordan by John, marked the beginning of his ministry.