As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
(Bible texts from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.)
Thanks to Jon Michael Ogletree for making available his arrangement of “Hyfrydol”
In October of 2020, the congregation of St. Elizabeth’s in Redford, Michigan, one of the sponsors of these recordings, voted to permanently close their parish church. Today is their last online Morning Prayer service. Next week, in person, they will gather with Bishop Perry for a final service. While it is a sad and difficult decision, it is the faithful choice. The Gospel reading for today, the Journey of the Magi, seems appropriate as the members of St. Elizabeth’s venture forth to new congregations and ministries. I have enjoyed serving as a supply priest among them and I give thanks for our times together. Bon Voyage!
Below is a homily (slightly modified from the one above) for their final Zoom service.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: