January 9, 2020
Dear Beloved St. Paul's UMC and Wesley Foundation Family,
Grace and Peace to you, friends, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It has been a difficult week. With the unfolding scenes of rioters overrunning the U.S. Capital, many of us have experienced a whole range of emotions: anger, fear, despair, and more. Some of us may have never imagined such a scene and are still processing the shock, while others of us have been pointing to this kind of thing as a real possibility for some time now. Either way, the brokenness of our humanity, and of our country, was on full display.
What word could our worship together speak into this moment? In our text today -- the story of Jesus' baptism -- the heavens open and a voice comes from above saying, "You are my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Is it possible that God's love is so immense, that these are the same words God speaks over you and I, in the midst of our brokenness? That we, too, are beloved? And not just us, but them, too? The ones we disagree with? The ones we don't understand? The ones we fear? Today, our worship reminds us that we are all God's beloved, and that changes how we relate to God and one another. You can worship with us by clicking here.
Children's Sunday School
Baptism is one of the two sacraments we celebrate in The United Methodist Church. This week we learn about Jesus' baptism. Join us in our prerecorded Sunday School here.
Be sure to watch until the end because your child(ren)'s baptism patch may be included. After the lesson, the leaflets have activities to reinforce the story and the truth that God loves us and calls us beloved, too. There are also family activities which you can do together. Click here to download the sheet.
Small Group Discussion
Once again we want to invite you to join with us in relationship building tomorrow (January 10th) on Zoom at 11:00 AM by clicking here (if you are using the Zoom App, the meeting ID is: 859 0584 5591 and the Password is: stpauls), as we break into small groups and discuss how we are loved by the One who made us and called us exceedingly good.
Pastor Greg
Order of Worship
Opening Song: "Many and Great, O God" (vs. 1) (UMH 148)
Opening Song: "Many and Great, O God" (vs. 2) (UMH 148)
Call to Worship:
One: In the beginning, when God created, there was only darkness covering the deep waters;
All: but from this deep darkness, God made light, and called it good.
One: Like the Israelites of old, God has walked with us, THROUGH the waters;
All: We are the redeemed of the Lord, surrounded by the waters of birth, blessed by the waters of our baptism.
One: In our living, God calls us to be co-creators, bringing light to the dark places,
All: remembering that what God has made is beautiful and beloved, and God calls it VERY good.
One: Let us worship the One who calls us beloved.
Opening Hymn: "This Is the Spirit's Entry Now" (UMH 608)
Passing the Peace
Children's Message: Liz McMillan
Scripture: Mark 1:4-11 (NRSV) - Rev. Pam Ford
Message: "Baptized into Belovedness" - Rev. Greg Milinovich
Pastoral Prayer
Closing Hymn: "Wonder of Wonders" (FWS 2247)

Discussion Questions:
  1. While there is nothing magical about the water of our baptism, water as a symbol is rich with meaning for us. Can you remember your baptism? What does baptism mean to you? If you are not baptized, why not?

  2. Where do you see connections between the stories of creation in Genesis 1-2, and the story of Jesus' baptism? How is God's grace evident in each?

  3. Are we beloved by God just as we are? Why or why not? What does this mean for us?

  4. Bonus question: Pastor Greg mentioned at the end of the service that he felt this message about our beloved-ness is perfectly suited for a week in which we saw such images of brokenness, fear, and hate as rioters overran the U.S. Capital building. How do you think this text, and the truth of our beloved-ness, speaks to this moment in our history?
St. Paul's United Methodist Church and Wesley Foundation
250 East College Avenue | State College, PA 16801 | 814-237-2163 | stpaulsc.org