Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Matthew 3:13-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
A New Name
Every year at this time and on this Sunday, I plan a service of baptismal renewal. This First Sunday after epiphany is referred to as Baptism of the Lord and the Gospel lectionary text for the day is one of the stories of Jesus’ baptism. While I love the stories, what I have appreciated more is the opportunity to remember my own baptism.
Each person who walks by the font can look into the water as it glistens in the bowl. They can reach into the water, take it in their hand and feel the cool wetness as it falls between their fingers and listen as it plops back into the bowl. Some will make the sign of the cross on their forehead. All of this to remember the mark placed upon them, maybe as an infant, maybe as an adult, but done as they are given a new name – Child of God.
You see, when Jesus rises from the water, the voice of God is heard saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Well, I think that the voice that Jesus heard and the words we read, also applied to us when the water poured down over our heads and still apply today: “This is my son, this is my daughter, this is my child, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” And when we touch the water, it’s as if that voice echoes inside our hearts, reminding us all that there have been expectations placed upon us, expectations that will change the way we live and treat others. That as we carry a new name, Child of God, others will see the grace and mercy and love of God through Jesus Christ lived out in each of us.
Loving God, as we remember our baptism, may we also remember that we are given a new name which also calls us to a new way of living. Help us to live faithfully as your children in all we do and follow as best we can the example of your son. Amen.
Go with God!