Epiphany 2022: The Lord’s Baptism
Gospel Reading: Luke 3:15–17, 21–22
15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John 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. 17His 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.”… 21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and 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.”
All Justice Fulfilled in All Things
by David Morrison
Just before he was baptized in the Jordan, Jesus said something mysterious to John: “This is fitting to fulfill all righteousness.” As his toe broke the surface of the water, the process of putting all things in right relationship began to quicken. Water, which had been previously perceived to be the agent of divine judgment on the earth, now becomes sacred and life-giving. Heaven, which had beforehand appeared to be sealed shut, now is torn open, and the dove of the Holy Spirit alights permanently on the Son of Mankind. We are not isolated individuals existing in sequestered cells. Rather, we are the sum of all our relationships. God becoming human brings harmony to all things in their intricate connections. If I look deep within at electrons flowing inside their atoms, I can say, “All my relations.” If I look outward into the infinity of space and I see the vastness of it all, and I sense the loneliness of my own existence, questioning who I am: I can whisper with confidence, “I am… all my relations.”
“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.”
by David Morrison
Jesus, you soaked yourself into the river of our humanity
so that we can be plunged into the river of your divinity
To make us one with you.
To make us fully human.
We give you thanks.
As Moses’ branch turned the bitter waters sweet
As you broke the river’s surface at your baptism:
So reconcile me to you in peace
So reconcile me to those with whom I’m not at peace
So reconcile all things
From the Breastplate of St. Patrick
“Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”
*Banner image: Horseshoe Bend, Colorado by Tom Gainor from Unsplash (filtered by DM)