Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

January 12, 2020: Loved

From Ray McGinnis

A commentary on the gospel lesson about Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist states, “Jesus’ ministry begins by turning ideas about him and how God works upside down. In baptism we bathe in the waters of understanding and truths that emerge from a promised new reign of God.”
Meanwhile these headlines dominate the news cycle: “Trump’s order to kill Soleimani is already starting to backfire,” “Trump on Soleimani strike: ‘His reign of terror is over,” “Iran news – live: ‘Never threaten our nation,’ warns supreme leader after Trump says he’ll bomb cultural sites,” “Growing doubts on legality of US strike that killed Iranian general,” and others.

President Trump has argued that the Iranian general had “imminent” plans to launch a military or terrorist attack against American interests. He asserts that the action taken to kill Soleimani was “defensive.” CNN reports that experts it has canvassed “are skeptical that the White House’s justification for the strike – offered without evidence at the time of writing” meets the standards permitted under international law for a targeted killing.
Since Trump has become president, he’s torn apart the nuclear accord with Iran signed by the Obama administration. He has set up an economic blockade including medicine, preventing Iranian citizens from accessing affordable treatments for illnesses. American citizens are divided over the prudence of this current approach to dealing with Iran.

Some members of Congress are concerned that the escalation of tensions with Iran is a distraction from the impeachment proceedings. Others are convinced Iran poses a present danger.

Explore…Matthew 3:13–17

  • Why did John the Baptist say to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you”?
  • What is the righteousness Jesus speaks of that is being fulfilled by his baptism?
  • How is this a sign of how God turns things upside down to spread the gospel of love?
  • Is President Trump trying making Americans safer by assassinating Iran’s general Soleimani?
  • What loving gesture could the Iranians make towards America?
  • What loving gesture could America make toward Iran?
  • What could each nation’s leaders do that the Spirit of God might descend on this situation, like a dove?

God of kindom understanding and truths, so often we do what we’ve done before and make a mess of the world again, in big and small ways. Help us to turn things upside down, the way Jesus did by asking John to baptize him. Help us take a risk for the sake of your reign of love. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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