Sunday, January 17, 2021:
We Will! With God's Help
(Our Baptismal Covenant)

WELCOME to ST JAMES'
ONLINE SUNDAY SCHOOL!


St James' Baptismal Font, Dove Window,
and Paschal Candle
Here's what we're wondering about:
Our Baptismal Covenant
(Catch up with Baptism in last week's class: click here)

What is a covenant? Here, it is an agreement between God and people,
through Jesus and the apostles (read more):
"a life of love that we share with Christ and with each other in Christ's name"

Here are the promises everyone agreed to with a loud "We will - with God's help!"
at baptisms; yours, too, if you have been baptized! These vows bind us together.
We promise to :
continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship
continue in the breaking of bread
continue in the prayers
persevere in resisting evil
repent and return to the Lord whenever fallen into sin
proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
seek and serve Christ in all persons
love our neighbor as ourselves
strive for justice and peace among all people
respect the dignity of every human being

How can we do all these things, all the time? It's hard work! God will help us.

"Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit," prayed the Celebrant at the Baptism. "Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen."

And so we ask, wonder, learn, choose, and pray - right from our heart. We try to be brave, to be careful and strong, and to not give up. We are curious and interested! We are eager to be loving and to be loved. What a good gift it is to be joyful! And we are amazed by all creation. That is why we praise and thank God, and do our best to keep our promises. We will, with God's help.

*See the Book of Common Prayer: it's online here. Read the service of Holy Baptism on pages 298-314, and the Catechism on pages 845-862.
Keeping promises builds trust and shows integrity. And sometimes it takes practice!

This preschool newsletter suggests following the "Three E's":
Example, Expectations, and Exclamations -
read more here.

At St James, we all try to set good examples of Christian living.
We know what God expects of us - the Bible tells us so!

And let's celebrate this extra E: Effort!
(Excellent!)
"Hearts unfold like flowers before you" are some of the beautiful words praising God in Joyful, Joyful (a version of hymn #376 in our Hymnal 1982).

Enjoy this uplifting version from Sister Act 2: click here!
We are learning and growing all the time.
One effort we are making is to become anti-racism allies:
look for special links on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2021.

So much has happened lately. Here are some resources for
helping children and young people respond to current events:
The season of Epiphany - this is Week Two!

How are you in this still-new year?
What are your dreams for the days ahead?
Sending lots of prayers for peace, justice, compassion, well-being, and love - Linda