Sunday 7th January 2018
1st Sunday after Epiphany

Genesis 1:1-5; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11; Psalm 29

Todayís readings help us to explore and remember the Baptism of Jesus - this connects us again to the theme of identity through our own Baptism, and so the challenge is raised again, how do we live as followers of Jesus in the everyday business of work and commerce?

There is also a strong message of Godís presence in everything through the work and person of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the life force of creation, hovering expectantly over the waters of the earth; it is the Spirit who brings life and new birth to Christian believers, strengthening and equipping them to live out their faith in a difficult world. We often speak of the Holy Spirit in relation to our worship and internal life as church communities, the Scripture readings this Sunday provide an obvious platform to be reminded that the Spirit equips us for every aspect of our lives. Godís Spirit is at work in our world and at its best, work enables us to participate in the stewardship, harvesting and renewing of creation. Work provides us with the potential to discover where that same Spirit who was present at the dawn of creation, might be hovering and working amidst the molecules, structures and processes of Godís world today.

Psalm 29 offers a powerful connection between our worship and the everyday lives that we live. Verse 9 portrays the temple congregation declaring Godís glory, yet depicts them as just one element in a rule and reign that stretches across nations and kingdoms. The wonders and symbols of the natural world and the realities encountered through lives lived beyond the confides of the sanctuary, are all dependant upon the God who is the focus of their worship. The Psalm invites its readers to consider and explore where God might be at work beyond their worship gathering; this is an instinct we do well to foster in our world today.