First Sunday after Epiphany, Baptism of the Lord
January 10, 2010: Isaiah 43:1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Isaiah 43:1-7 Lectionary Text: “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’, and to the south, ‘Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 Lectionary Text: “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.”
COMMENT: “The gospel speaks of two baptisms. The first is the event this feast celebrates; the baptism Jesus received at the hands of John. The second is the baptism that we receive “with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus’ baptism revealed him as the “beloved Son; our own baptism reveals us as ones who are saved, renewed and justified and heirs of eternal life. This feast then is an epiphany not only of who Jesus is but also of who we are.” Living Liturgy", Baptism of the Lord, 2010 This comment makes even clearer the words of Isaiah I have read over and over on many occasion. They have dispelled fear and filled my heart with hope every time I’ve read them. These words give me a sense of eternal security with the faith to face life with all its changes and challenges. These words affect me this way because as I read them, the Holy Spirit confirms them in my heart. This is the glorious benefit of baptism in my life. “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Almighty, eternal God, when the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism in the Jordan, you revealed him as your own beloved Son. Keep us, your children born of water and the Spirit, faithful to our calling. We as this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen .” Living Liturgy",2010
During this season of Epiphany, may the diminished light of winter be illuminated by God’s Self to you and in you.
Blessings, Rev. Julia ©January 7, 2010
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