Dear Congregational Family,

1. Epiphany: Yesterday (January 6th) was Epiphany which is the “12th Day of Christmas.” It is also the ancient observance of the church celebrating the manifestation/revealing of Christ to the world. Three things are historically celebrated by the church at this time:

a. The coming of the Magi to see the Christ-child.

b. The baptism of Jesus.

c. The first miracle of Jesus in turning the water into wine.

2. The Community of the Church Congregation in Christ: In the midst of our individualized culture, the importance of being connected into, and committed to the church, the body of Christ cannot be overstated! Eugene Peterson wrote, “There can be no maturity in the spiritual life, no obedience in following Jesus, no wholeness in the Christian life, apart from an immersion in, and embrace of, community. I am not myself, by myself.” (A Generous Savior)

3. Digging up dirt, and finding the Church: Yesterday I read of a new discovery of a 1,700-year-old Christian basilica in Ethiopia which archaeologists have found! This further evidences the fact that Christianity had arrived and flourished in sub-Sararan Africa in the very early centuries of the early church. Researchers also uncovered a stone pendant carved with a cross, incised with the Ethiopic word “venerable,” as well as incense burners. Near the eastern basilica wall, was found an inscription asking “for Christ [to be] favorable (merciful/gracious) to us. It is interesting that one of the oldest liturgical prayers of the church is the “Kryie” which contains the words, “Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy upon us.” We continue to pray this prayer yet today at Ruthfred!

4. The Bible in 2020 Update: This has been an exciting venture already!! Well over 100 people in our congregation are reading through the Bible! Over 75 are doing so by utilizing the YouVersion Bible app. It has been wonderful to see all the “chat comments” each day from readers with this option. Remember, you can use a variety of following options to read through the Bible:

a. YouVersion Bible app through the Bible Project on your tablet or smart phone. This includes some incredible extra features. Sign up by emailing Don Roose (one of our church elders) at DonRoose@ruthfred.org.

b. Go online to our Ruthfred Church website and check out the daily reading schedule.

c. Check out the daily reading schedule as printed in the Herald.

d. Check out the weekly bulletin reading schedule.

e. Invite your friends and family to join in on this venture!!

5. Sermon text: For this Sunday the text is: Matthew 3:1-17. The title is: “The Word of God & the Means of Water”

God bless you as we continue,

“Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God”

Pastor Carlson