Before the New Year gets too far ahead of us, I want us to consider the following question: “How would you like to be remembered when you are dead?” This might be a rude question to ask considering what we have been through in 2020 and what we might go through this coming 2021. Some might even claim it that this is morbid. So-ber, yes, morbid, no. Because one day all of us will be facing or are already facing the reality of this question. And in the final analysis we do write our legacy. By the way in which we live, we are now composing what will be said of us and what will follow us into eternity. So, what will be written?
In the Book of Acts, contains a touching remembrance of Jesus by Peter: “…he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” The One who was baptized by John in the Jordan, the One whose sandal strap John as not fit to tie – THIS JESUS was the man for others who brought God’s healing love and forgiveness. The Baptism of Jesus teaches what our baptism is all about: loving God our Father eternally and totally and using our talents and resources to lessen the burdens of others. We too are the beloved children of God through baptism. Baptism is never an excuse from loving service. Rather, baptism draws us into a deep fellow-ship with Jesus and his ministry. The dignity of Christian comes from meeting the needs of others in the name of Jesus.
Peter powerfully sums up the life of Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the words of Prophet Isaiah:
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations…open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dun-geon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 42:1-2, 7)
All this Jesus did out of loving obedience to the Father. The same is expected of us as disciples of Christ. Each day we are presented with many opportunities to be of service and bring God’s healing to a broken world. We work for daily victories, “not shouting or crying out,” but by quietly doing the work of God.
The second Sunday of 2021, gives us opportunity to recall and remember the baptism of Jesus and what it means, considering what we went through in 2020. The invitation and call of Jesus is clear: “let us be mindful of our own baptism.” Again, let us return to my opening question: “How would you like to be remembered? Jesus was remembered as God’s beloved Son who went about doing good and healing all who were sick in mind and body. Brothers and sisters in Christ, one day a final remembrance will be spoken of us. At this moment it is being written as we live.

In addition, I would like to offer this prayer with you:
Eternal God, for whom time does not exist but in whom we live time of our lives, you have crowned us with glory and honor, that we should be given dominion over the works of your hands. You have put all things under our feet-all plants and animals and the resources of the earth.

We schedule our time by the earth’s revolutions around the sun, but it is given meaning and purpose by revolving around the Righteous One. More than by dates, life’s meaning is marked by birth and death, planting and harvesting, reaching out and withdrawing, weeping and laughing, loving and hating, fighting and reconciling. You give us a sense of past and future and fill us with wonder before all your gifts.

You make all things new, which leaves us at once fearful and joyful. We are afraid of changing times but can trust your love as time moves on. We rejoice that part of your change will be the wiping away of mourning, tears, and pain.

More than all else, prepare us for the end of time, when we are judged not by the length of life but by its quality. If we can look back on feeding the hungry and thirsty, clothing and welcoming strangers, and visiting those who are sick or imprisoned, we will remember time well spent. Enable us to judge the meaning of the minutes and hours of our days now as you will judge our years by, by our ministry to Jesus through the ministry to “the least” of our sisters and brothers. May our living fulfill our praying so that another year will find us ever faithful to the Christ. Amen.

Looking for a grace-filled 2021. A Blessed New Year to everyone.
Pastor Gideon Gallo

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