January 10, 2021
Passage: Mark 1:4-11
Greetings Friends:  What a long strange week it's been. Our nearest and dearest neighbours and families in the USA have endured a week that roller-coasted between hope and elation, despair and deep sorrow. To those of you with American roots we struggle to walk a mile in your shoes and pray for you and your families. My earliest heroes were all American - mainly creations of TV and movie studios. America had decisively altered the course of WW2 and brought the conflict to an end winning the thanks and admiration of most Britons.
My Dad was attached as a liaison officer to the American 5th Army in North Africa and Italy.  His war was lived among Americans. During the fifties and sixties we exchanged Christmas Cards with "aunts and uncles" in Rochester and Philadelphia.  We never actually saw them as transatlantic travel was pretty much restricted to the wealthy back then. It was only when Paulette and I came to Canada in 1978 that Mum and Dad were able to visit Dad's war-buddies when they visited us in Hamilton and drove across the border to see them.
All this is by way of saying (and most of you will have similar attachments)  that Americans are uniquely part of our family history.  What happened last week (and in the weeks and months that preceded January 6th) was like having dear friends, married for years who suddenly spiral into a rancorous divorce and their kids stop speaking to each other.  What can we do? Pray of course, and let friends and family in the USA know that you are doing so and that we are not about to give up on them! This is the season of Epiphany (the actual day of Epiphany is January 6th) - God's light and hope is the focus of our worship. So we look for hope and light - and strive to see God at work in the complex issues of our day.
Today's worship looks at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry.  His baptism at the Jordan signals the beginning of his life and work in a violent and deeply divided society.  God in Jesus Christ has lived through much worse times than we have seen. As usual I remind you all that if you are planning to watch the broadcast please reserve and use this script as a bulletin.  Apparently Roger has discovered some previously unknown video of our church - so make sure you watch to the end. Thank-you elders for forwarding this to the people in your districts.
Peace be with you, Duncan
Written version of the service can be found by downloading the bulletin link below.

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