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Wrapped in beauty...

Last night snow fell from the sky and landed on the earth. It coated the trees and the ground with a beautiful layer of bright white snow. It is beautiful to behold, especially if you can wait until the roads are clear before you have to go anywhere! In the midst of the snow coming down last night I opened the door and breathed in the crisp clear clean air and at the same time listened to the snow as it fell to the ground. Glorious, and beautiful, and everything looked so new and beautiful. It was one of the holy moments.

Baptism is another one of those holy moments. It doesn't matter if it is a little baby that can not answer for themselves or an adult who finally has accepted Christ and has a fully understanding of what they are committing is a holy moment. It reminds us that God can make us clean and pure. It reminds us that through Christ we can be made pure and be shining with splendor from God. Then, as before, the broken, fallen, sin filled, darkness of the world tries to blemish us and cover our beauty.

The snow that was so beautiful when it was falling and making the world a blanket of glittering white will not stay that way for long. The plow trucks come and clean up the snow taking away the blanket of white from the roads. Often some dirt and salt is added in to help make the roads easier to drive, and with that more smudges of darkness appear. The wind blows the snow blanket from the trees removing another layer, and as the snow melts the collected impurities stay and start to be noticed on the top layer of snow. What was glorious and almost uniform beauty starts to fade away. Until God sends us more snowflakes to once again bathe the earth with beauty.

The same often happens with our baptism. It is a powerful source of cleansing and healing that restores us to the God made image within us. The God made image that often gets tarnished by the fallen world around us. The God made image that can begin to collect blotches of sin that dim the beauty. Our response to these blotches is not to get baptized again. Instead it is to remember that God will cleanse us every time we come to God and honestly share the truth of what we have done that is blotching out the Godly beauty within us. We offer up in truth those areas where we have fallen short and allowed the dirt of the world to stay upon us. We remember our initial baptism and know that God will remove the blemishes of the world once again and restore us to that picture of pure beauty from when we were first claimed in the baptismal water. Unlike snow where we don't know when the next blanketing of beauty God wills send, we can turn to God, share our hearts, and God will blanket us in beauty again.

This Sunday is Baptismal Remembrance Sunday. We remind ourselves that we have been washed and cleansed in the baptismal Holy Water. That even if we have allowed the brokenness of the world to fully immerse in the darkness of the sin of the world, we can still be made beautiful once again. That no blemish is too big for God to be able to blanket us in the beauty of restoration and redemption once again. That is what we will celebrate this Sunday.

The bulletin for this Sunday is attached. There is a star in the bulletin for you to use to write your star word for the year. You can of course make your own stars if you want. This star word represents what you will work on this year. This star word is an area that you need to work on to more fully reflect Christ into the world. I know for some people it is hard to choose a word so there is a site you can go to that will do it for you: I believe that it can be a tool of the Holy Spirit that will give you the word you need to focus and work on for the year ahead. This is the tool I used and I believe it gave me the perfect word to work on for this year and it is RESTORE. The areas that this applies to in my life is endless and it will take the whole year to even begin to accomplish it. Let the star journey begin.

As there are reports of ice for this Sunday I will let you know that no matter what we will have an 8am livestream. We are live-streaming on our Facebook page or our YouTube channel. For those that are watching when we live-stream we do have a person that can see the comments posted if there are sound issues. While we don't want to fixate on every little sound issue we do want to know when something is way off and affects your ability to be able to enter into worship. I will warn those watch on Facebook they sometimes mute the video clips I use after the livestream. Unless you are watching worship when it is live I would recommend watching on the YouTube channel because the quality is better.

We are not passing offering plates so the wooden boxes are available to put your offering in. The 2022 offering envelopes are in church mailboxes for those that continue to use them for their offering. Of course you can also give online, use text to give (844-406-0358), or mail the offering to church.

We will be collecting prayers in the prayer box on the table in the parlor. Also, if you have announcement that you need to be shared please write them down and give them to me before the service. This will be an ongoing practice for prayers and announcements to help ensure that they are heard and understood by all (especially those worshipping with us virtually).

So get ready to come to worship and bring your blemishes. Let us not hide them but confess them to God, and let us be cleansed by the Holy One. Then we can once again go into the world draped in beauty and allowing others to know to Whom they can turn to in order to be blanketed in grace and beauty.



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