Weekly Liturgy : January 9-15
The Lamb of God
The Lamb of God
29-34 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 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 Chosen One.”
The First Disciples of Jesus
35-42 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).13-14 Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. John objected, “I’m the one who needs to be baptized, not you!”
15 But Jesus insisted. “Do it. God’s work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism.” So John did it.
16-17 The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”
When those gathered heard John describe Jesus as a lamb, their imagination would have gravitated toward sacrificial scenes. The disciples’ expectations were for Jesus to make the world right and good and the way God intended. And of course, the fastest way is to use violence on Israel’s enemies: the reason for the world’s sinfulness, the scapegoats.
It would not have made any sense to tell them that Jesus came not to perfect the sacrificial system, but to end it. Not to satiate God’s demand for violence, but to end humanity’s obsession with it. Not to inflict pain, but to absorb it (as the lamb does) and to make the world right by giving up the right to retaliate.
The only way to make it make sense, would be to invite the would-be disciples to “come and see,” and to experience Jesus' new way of being in the world first hand. And at Church at the Park, we hope to be people who offer the same invitation to the world: to come, see, and experience a life of abundance that occurs when give our lives in service to others.
Outward Mindset Application
Let no one be irrelevant to you this today.
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Naturalism (loving the world through the outdoors): Go on a nature walk this week! If there are informational signs posted on the walk, read and learn about the animals and plants. Offer a silent thought of gratitude for the life you encounter.
Questions for Relection
Do you think it’s possible for a version of the world to exist without violence? What helps you release anger in the middle of intense moments? What is your favorite New Years’ resolution you have considered or heard someone else try?
One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We’d love to see you there! The Open Table (@ The old DMV) 2640 N Portland Rd Salem, OR 97301
“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.