Waters Changing Tides

Originally preached on 1/10/2021

Message Title: Waters Changing Tides
Theme: Flopped Inventions & New Discoveries
Season: EPIPHANY (started Jan 6th)
Main Text: Mark 1:4-11
Scripture Reading: Psalm 29
RCL Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11
Focus: John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, and a voice claims Jesus as his son.
Function: To commit or recommit to the continual transformation of our baptism.
Other Notes: (Wisemen arrived!) (Hidden Ministries/Mission of the Month)

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 29 You, divine beings! Give to the Lord—give to the Lord glory and power! 2Give to the Lord the glory due his name! Bow down to the Lord in holy splendor! 3The Lord’s voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the Lord is over the mighty waters. 4The Lord’s voice is strong; the Lord’s voice is majestic. 5The Lord’s voice breaks cedar trees—yes, the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon jump around like a young bull, makes Sirion jump around like a young wild ox. 7The Lord’s voice unleashes fiery flames; 8the Lord’s voice shakes the wilderness—yes, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The Lord’s voice convulses the oaks, strips the forests bare, but in his temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” 10The Lord sits enthroned over the floodwaters; the Lord sits enthroned—king forever! 11Let the Lord give strength to his people! Let the Lord bless his people with peace!

INTRO INTO EPIPHANY:  We entered into the season of Epiphany on January 6th. This season is a time of revelation, discovery, and proclamations. As we look at revelations about Jesus, we will also look at discoveries and inventions, some successful and some flops. Perhaps these discoveries will inspire our own revelations.

INVENTION:

  1. Did you know that Post-It Notes were a mistake?
    1. In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead, he accidentally created a “low-tack”, reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. (WIKI)
    2. There is a claim by another gentleman, Alan Amron, that he was the one who actually invented the tech, but the story gets quite confusing to follow.
  2. Sources:
    1. https://www.businessinsider.com/failed-experiment-created-post-it-notes-2014-9
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-it_Note 

TRANSITION: The legend of Post-It notes speaks of failure as the gateway to success. This failed experiment became a staple of office supplies.

Though the epiphany that leads to Post-It notes is not a glamorous one, our text for today will lead us to another epiphany on a much grander scale. What will Mark’s epiphany teach us?

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:4-114John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. 11And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Intro to Mark: Mark is the gospel for Year C in the Lectionary. Mark is the reader’s digest Gospel. He is quick and to the point. Mark is not the Gospel to search for details about Jesus.
    1. Mark did not tell a Christmas story. Instead, Mark’s Gospel starts with John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness.
  2. John The Baptist:
    1. John, in the wilderness –camel’s hair etc
      1. In the Hebrew Bible, God met people in the wilderness
        1. Hagar, Moses, The people of Israel
      2. John’s appearance & diet is to draw a parallel to
        1. Nazarite vow- a person set aside for holy work
        2. Prophets- OT writers describe other prophets looking this way-i.e. Elijah.
    2. John’s words mimic the prophets
      1. Note- in Mark’s Gospel, John does not draw the link between Jesus  & “the one coming.” In other Gospels that thought is linked.
      2. “Change your hearts & lives”
  3. Baptism:
    1. People of Judea & Jerusalem were getting baptized
    2. We’ve talked about this before, baptism for a Jew was common but different from what we Baptists do today.
    3. Ancient Jews used ceremonial washing frequently to set people or things apart for God’s use.
      1. Jesus is among them, receiving this baptism. We consider Jesus’s baptism the beginning of his ministry.
    4. This baptism was about transformation.  Some translations use the word repentance. But I think that word can have a very grand sensation without a lot of meaning.
      1. I love the CEB translating the Greek to say “Change your hearts and lives.
      2. Knowledge of God’s intentions should change us.

INTERPRETATION:

  1. A voice reveals Jesus as God’s son at his baptism. (No thanks to John -.-)
    1. Many ponder why Jesus needed baptism, if he was perfect.
      1. Some say this baptism was the first act of connecting heaven and earth.
      2. Some say Jesus’ baptism was only an example
      3. Others consider it his commissioning for his ministry.
  2. Our Baptism is about a commitment to be continually transformed by God’s Spirit. Not living by our own ideas or standards, but allowing ourselves to be changed by God’s guidance.
    1. John uses the phrase: “Change your hearts & lives”
      1. Our baptism is a commitment to Christ and the ongoing spiritual growth journey.
      2. Baptism isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.
    2. If you would like to talk about being baptized and committing to the ongoing faith journey, talk to me or a deacon after church.
      1. As Baptists, we baptize those who will say that: “Jesus is our savior”  and can commit to growing with a body of believers (Liberty, specifically).

APPLICATION: Epiphanies in our world– To commit or recommit to the continual transformation of our baptism.

  1. An epiphany has happened in our country this week on January 6th. Division has become so strong that Americans were attacking Americans.
    1. I recognize bringing up this topic is difficult. The story has become so convoluted that it is difficult to agree on what is happening and what these events mean. We don’t know who to listen to or who to trust, and politicians continue to fuel the flame.
      1. We have two separate narratives active in the news.
    2. How did we get to this place? We have stopped considering the perspective of our opponents and have labeled them our enemies.
      1. We have become so focused on being right that we have become virtually unteachable.
      2. When you are so determined to be right that you cease to show love, you are no longer right.
  2. The job of a pastor is scary during events like this. We may have our personal convictions and believe them just as passionately as you believe your convictions. But we must also tread carefully or risk repercussions from speaking of our convictions.
    1. The world encourages pastors to be spiritual guides, but to keep their political thoughts to themselves. “Stick to scripture,” leave the politics out of it.
      1. Scripture informs the rest of our lives. It is all connected. Your faith should inform your politics.
    2. We hear an opinion that we disagree with and our tendency as humans is to talk to everyone BUT the person we disagree with. Gossip spreads like wildfire. No healing happens.
      1. We rush to protecting our allies and reject any thoughts from our opponents.
      2. I’ve experienced this very thing in my own life.
    3. How is this behavior showing we are God’s people?
      1. How is our language showing we are God’s people?
  3. Defense is our natural reaction. I want to interrupt that moment right now.
    1. Liberty is a diverse group of thought. Not everyone in this room thinks the same way about what happened on January 6th. But the people you are sitting next to are not your enemies. They are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
    2. Together WITH our differences, we can listen for the Spirit of God to speak.  Together IN our differences, we can evaluate the messages we hear and listen for God’s truth. We need diversity of heritage, economic status, and voting record. We need a body of believers with critical thinking skills in order to challenge the voices attempting to sway our attention.
    3. In this space, we are not republicans or democrats, tea party or libertarians, we are followers of Christ.
      1. Unity doesn’t mean that we stop being an individual with thoughts and feelings. Unity means we are working together for a solution rather than taking our toys and playing somewhere else.
  4. Action: We are going to take some time to reflect together. There will be a song playing and I invite you to listen to the words or reflect on these questions. If you would like a copy of these questions just raise your hand.
    1. Song & Reflection prayer for our country
      1. Where is God asking me to speak? Where is God asking me to listen?
      2. Where is God calling me to let go? Where is God calling me to stand up?
      3. They Will Know We Are Christians: by Jars of Clay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugQwh-phnZY

CONCLUSION: Sticky-Notes were birthed out of failure. This failure led to a HUGE success.

The biggest failure in the church is believing we don’t need people who are different than us worshipping next to us. The church choosing to only worship next to people they agree with on every single thing leads to a church who has lost its way.

I need you. You need me. We need each other. If we want our faith to continue to grow and be stretched beyond our limits, we need to work together. Share your differences in love and work together to find a God centered solution.

Invitation to baptism & commitment to growing with this church.  

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