January 10 Worship Service

Our January 10 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. All scheduled worship services until further notice will be online only with minimal in-person participation to reduce COVID-19 risks.

Click on picture to view video

The January 17 Sunday worship service will be held without in-person attendance because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in our state. It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.

We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.

Sermon: January 10
Genesis 1:1-5 | Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7 | Mark 1:4-11

The Baptism of Our Lord Sunday:
What is important about this day? Well, it tells us that something new is being done by God! The old is passing away, and the new is breaking in. It fits with the overwhelming theme of this new Season of Epiphany, the season of God’s light breaking into the world. You can see that in Old Testament lesson for today from Genesis 1. It is God’s first word and act of creation, “Let there be light!” You could say that it’s his first move. It is. Now, in Christ, that same very light is being spread upon us anew.

With that light comes a new baptism. Notice in the Acts and Markan lessons, that there is a difference between John’s baptism and Christian baptism. John’s baptism is only preparatory. John’s job was to make ready for the coming of the Messiah. That came up just a few weeks ago during the Season of Advent. It is for the repentance of sins. Christian baptism is a whole lot more, like the forgiveness of sins. And, in Christian baptism, we receive something far greater than John can give, something which comes only from God. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! If you’re a baptized Christian, yes you have it.

To be sure, if you look at Mark’s Gospel today, that is the first text where all three members of the Trinity are present at the same time, at Jesus’ baptism. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends upon him like a dove, and the Father’s voice declares, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” We will hear that again in the lessons on the Day of the Transfiguration at the end of the Season of Epiphany. Jesus’ baptism is foundational to our faith. But, what happens when we are baptized. In many ways, the same things happen to us, because we are joined to Christ in our baptism.

Baptism is a Sacrament. It is a means of God’s grace, just as the Lord’s Supper is. In it, we receive God’s grace. It is a once in a lifetime grace, which completely infuses our bodies, minds and spirits, down to every cell of our bodies.

Through baptism into Christ, we are received into His Church. That is why Paul baptizes the believers in Ephesus. They have been baptized into John’s baptism of repentance of sins, but not Christ’s baptism of forgiveness of sins. That is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, just look at the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed. Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is the actual forgiving of sin. So, through baptism we are incorporated into the Church, become one in the body of Christ, which is the Church.

That forgiveness, in our baptisms, the guilt of Original Sin is removed, as is the guilt of the sins we’ve committed to that point in our lives. Following baptism, the Lord’s Supper, as a Sacrament and Means of God’s grace, becomes a forgiveness of sins for us for those sins which we commit later, and reinforces the promises of our everlasting salvation secured by the work of Christ.

By being joined to Christ, by our baptism into him, we are joined to his death, and his resurrection. Although all that is living will die, the old will pass away. But death has no real power over us because of him. As death could not hold him, as he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so too, ultimately, death has no hold over us. We belong to him. Through him, we receive the promise of eternal life with him, and the promise that nothing can take us from his hand. Why is this day important? Because we follow where he has led the way, we have become reflections of Christ to the world. You may not have heard it at your baptism, but as you were being raised up from the waters, the heavens opened once more, the Holy Spirit descended upon you, and the voice of God said, “You are my child, beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Rejoice, it is one thing in this world we can be certain of. Martin Luther believed it was the one thing of this life that he could be certain of; he was baptized, and the promises of it, through Christ.

Light and water, why are they important? For starters, because, they are both necessary for life. They are important parts to creation. Light is created in the first paragraph of Genesis, water is separated in the second. During the Season of Epiphany, we put an emphasis upon re-creation, and that re-creation takes place in us. When you put a seed in the ground to grow something, you had better have some water and light on hand, or nothing happens. To carry that analogy to its conclusion in terms of faith, or to quote Luther in the Small Catechism, “What does this mean?” We are the earth. The seed of faith has been planted in us. And to make it grow, we need to bask in the light of God’s Word, and soak in the waters of Christ’s baptism. Then, that seed of faith will grow, mature, bloom in time, and bear fruit to the Lord. How is that for allegorizing the text? But, it indeed makes sense in light of our faith, and in the waters of Baptism, as we celebrate this Baptism of Our Lord Day.
Pastor Rose

January 3 Worship Service

Our January 3 Sunday worship service is available on video through Facebook. You may view it without being a member of Facebook. All scheduled worship services until further notice will be online only with minimal in-person participation to reduce COVID-19 risks.

Click on picture to view video

The January 10 Sunday worship service will be held without in-person attendance because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in our state. It is scheduled to be streamed live on the DeSoto Redeemer Facebook page. We will post a direct link to the recording here as soon as it is possible after the service.

We are glad to share our worship with you. Click on “Contact Us” above to find out more about our faith family and what we believe.

January 3 Sermon
Jeremiah 31:7-14 | Psalm 147:12-20
Ephesians 1:3-14 | John 1:[1-9] 10-18

Mystery: That is the theme for today, actually really for the whole Season of Christmas, and many other parts of the Church Year. The Mystery of the Incarnation which is also the very foundation of our salvation, God became flesh and lived among us.

Most people love a good mystery. It might be a mystery novel, a “whodunit,” or a mystery on television or at the movies. The joy of that type of mystery is trying to figure out the ending, before you get to the end. Who committed the murder? Who is the real bad guy? You usually have a pretty good idea who the hero is. There’s nothing like a good mystery. Ruth and I watch a lot of British mysteries. Sorry, they tend to be better written than American mysteries.

Mysteries are like puzzles. Many of us like puzzles. I personally am addicted to puzzles. I will sit up all night working on a jigsaw puzzle. But this year, Ruth gave me a Lego puzzle, sort of, of Harry Potter. It has instructions for assembly. Unfortunately, I think the instructions were done by the same people who do assembly instructions for IKEA, pictures only. I’ve got it half done, and have had to take it apart to correct something 4 times. But, I will get it done!

If you think about it, we are surrounded by puzzles and mysteries. We face them everyday. Why are we getting this kind of weather this time of year? It was warm for a fairly long time. Even the birds are confused, “Should we fly south or not?” Oh that’s right, we live in Missouri. Here the weather is a mystery period! There’s a new mystery this year. I bought my wife some black leggings for Christmas. She opened the present. And she took out of the bag a one piece black swimsuit. The bag even said black leggings! Did they transform in the bag after I wrapped them? It’s a mystery! Rather than Christmas, does this mystery relate more to the Transfiguration? Why do you put an even number of socks in the wash, and you get an odd number back? My wife wonders about that one a lot. Why do fans do strange rituals at ballgames; and believe that it helps their team win!? A friend of mine swears that he has a system to win at a roulette table, even though every time they spin the ball the odds start over again, in the house’s favor. So, there can be no system. I pointed that out to him one night. He listened intently, and then went out and won $900. That’s still a mystery to me. Those are common mysteries, especially the weather.

Today, we think of the uncommon, the extraordinary, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” Now there is a mystery. In the western Church, for centuries, we have tried to figure out the Incarnation. The Eastern, Orthodox Church, just revels in it. They just love having a mystery. In fact, just about every piece of Orthodox theology is firmly linked to the Incarnation, without answers.

But, we westerners have to try to figure it out. Why, and how, would God come to us, as a human being? How, is easy (don’t try to figure this one out), the virgin birth: “conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.” He comes to us fully divine, and yet fully human.

But we come back to why? The why part of the question is a bit harder actually. Why would God humble himself to become a human being, to experience and endure all that His creatures undergo? There are stories of kings in history dressing up as commoners and going out to be with their subjects, to try to understand them and see what their needs are. King Henry V, on the night before the Battle of Agincourt spent the night dressed as a common soldier and went among their campfires for that purpose. But, why would God become flesh and live among us?

One answer, which I like, is in the words of the Preface of the Holy Communion Rite, which we only say during the Season of Christmas (I would like to say it more often, but we only get it for two weeks). I will be saying them shortly. They read, “In the wonder and mystery of the Word made flesh you have opened the eyes of faith to a new and radiant vision of your glory; that, beholding the God made visible, we may be drawn to love the God whom we cannot see.” I like that as a possible answer. But that is still a bit incomplete.

The best answer for that comes a little later in John’s Gospel, in chapter 3, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” That clears up the mystery of the Incarnation quite a bit. Why does God come to us, as one of us? Because of love, love for us; and to save us from our sin. And, not just to save humanity, but to save the whole world. Indeed, it is through Christ, and Christ alone, that we are saved. Knowing this, perhaps we may now enjoy the wonder of this Mystery of the Incarnation.
Pastor Rose