John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
John said, “I came…that he might be revealed to Israel.” I have long thought that the Church is like John the Baptist. We exist to make Jesus known in the world. In John’s day, nobody had any inklings about Jesus, the Messiah, or the whole religious tradition that would arise around his story. In today’s world many people have had exposure to the religion of Jesus, whether or not they have encountered the risen Christ in their lives. An increasing number of people are as uninformed about Jesus as the Jews in Jesus’ day. They have a sense of being spiritual, but it has precious little organized religious expression. In fact, unlike in John’s day, there is a widespread distrust of organized religion. Religion is seen as a promotor of bigotry, isolationism and self-serving hypocrisy. John didn’t come to reveal a religion. He came to reveal Jesus.
Jesus said, “Come and see.” To the ones who inquired, the seeker, the interested, or those sensing a spiritual void or need, Jesus invites people to join him. He offers no explanations or rationalizations, no mission statements and no causes, just a simple, person-to-person invitation to try out the community of Jesus for a while and then make up their own minds.
Perhaps Jesus’ invitation is the way to make Jesus known. As we as a parish gather this Sunday to look back at where we’ve come from, and then forward where we would like to go, we do so as a religious community gathered. Let us never forget that Jesus is the core of our community. Our purpose is the same as John’s; our methods should be those of Jesus.
The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)
You are invited!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the completion of the first two homes in the Batey Street neighborhood in Sedro-Woolley. These homes were built in a unique partnership with Habitat volunteers, the two Habitat families and students in the Sedro-Woolley High School Geometry in Construction program. Join us in celebrating these two families as they complete their journey to homeownership.
What: Home Dedication Ceremony
When: Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 3-4 pm
Where: 1205 & 1303 Batey Street, Sedro-Woolley
Following a short program, guests may tour the homes and refreshments will be served. An invitation flyer will be posted in the office window and on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. You may also contact Carol Boss (360.399.7927) if you have questions or would like additional information.
Faith Over Fear: Four-Hour Ally Training
Saturday, February 1, 2020 -1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Trinity Lutheran Church: 6215 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036
The Faith Over Fear four-hour Ally Training will give you tested strategies to use in response to these challenging questions – and the fears that underlie them. Participants will learn about: Islamophobia and Its Impacts, Islam and American Muslims, Effective, Values-Based Messaging, and How to Respond to Difficult Questions. (Register Here)
Save the Date!
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper: February 25, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
In the recent tradition of fun and successful Shrove Tuesday Pancake Suppers, your Stewardship Committee is making plans for 2020. Please set this date aside in your calendars. There will be opportunities for you to give of your time and to let your talents shine! More importantly, it will be an opportunity to inthe 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuaryvite your friends and family to come and meet our welcoming and friendly church community. More details to follow!
Lenten Series based on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book
Wednesday Evenings in Lent (March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1 & 8) we will gather at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall for some rich community and conversation on An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. Order your book wherever you buy books or sign up on the sheet in the Parish Hall and we will order a copy for you. Come & see.
Annual Parish Meeting & Potluck, this Sunday!
Our Parish’s Annual Meeting will be this Sunday, January 19, 2020, following a joint worship service with Resurrección at 9:30 a.m. Please plan to join us for this opportunity to hear updates about our parish, celebrate and reflect on what we have done and to pray our way forward together. To give our brains some fuel for the task to come, please bring something to share! Resurrección will be joining us so please bring a bit extra. We will provide the coffee.
You’re the best type – Give Blood!
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) in the Parish Hall here at St. Paul’s. For information and to sign up contact Bloodworks NW at 1-800-398-7888 or go to http://bloodworksnw.org. Give someone a better tomorrow, donate blood today!
The next Choir practice for the month of January 2020 is on the 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.
Serving This Sunday: January 19, 2020
8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
Officiant: Margaret Bird
9:30 a.m. Bilingual Eucharist w/ Resurrección
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Margaret Bird, Baudelina Paz
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Bob & Sharon Johnson
Lectors: Margie Lauer, Baudelina Paz
*Coffee Hour: Annual Parish Meeting Potluck
Counters: Susan Cooper, Sandy McDougall
Sound: Ben Worrell
E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.