I go to a non-liturgical church, and I don’t believe that the lectionary is necessary. So why am I deliberately, this Sunday, and probably for a while, referring to the Church calendar? I do not think celebrating Holy Days adds to our righteousness or subtracts from it. The Puritans used to strip these things out to show their virtue, not their love.
In part this is irritation. We have a thousand years or more of saints, generation upon generation, for the English Speaking Peoples. We would be fools not to use the tradtiions and toolkit that allowed Christ to be proclaimed, not merely to the Kentish, the Saxons and the Norse, but to the indigenous of the Antipodes.
We forget our history at our peril, and we forget Christ at the risk of perdition.
34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.
He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and caused him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[b] with whom I am well pleased.”
The old prayer book has this prayer. I would add that we need now not to just pray that people remember their baing baptized. Our elite have rejected both tradition and God, and see us as people without right or rule of law.
So be it. We will confess God regardless.
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
This is 21 minutes long (fair warning), with a fair amount of lead in, and a Kiwi accent. For Praise is the Highway.