Sunday, January 9, 2011
At his Baptism Jesus put behind him every thing but following God. And because he did this, he was able to face what was to come – his service, his witness, his death, - and beyond hope his resurrection. Jesus, because he took on himself the Cross, because he accepted the end of life for himself, as he did in baptism – and its death to self – he was able to lead us out of fear to freedom, out of tragedy to hope, out of sorrow to joy. Sorrow, fear, and tragedy are real; hope, joy, and freedom are more real still.
In Baptism we begin to put on the mind of Christ. We begin to clothe ourselves in his righteousness, having realized we have none in ourselves. Because he led the way, through the waters of baptism, the sojourn in the wilderness, the way of the cross, we too have the hope of the risen life – in him, in Christ, we are set free. We are set free – to live life not for ourselves, under our own power, but in Christ and with Christ, under Christ and for Christ. It is in baptism that we are set free to really live, and truly love.
Knowing that Christ has gone before us, through death – death on the cross – to resurrection, we are set free to love, live, and serve God – in each other and in the world. It is not a friendly world – those Jordan waters in which Jesus immersed himself were muddy and cold; but precisely because he let that dirt cling to him we are made clean.
Our sorrows, griefs, dashed hopes, false loves, unkept promises, our need, our desire – all are taken up in him.
What comes down from heaven is assurance: this is my Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him. And Jesus says,
COME – FOLLOW ME.
In Christ who set us free
In Christ who shows us the way
In Christ who calls us to follow
The Lessons Appointed for Use on the First Sunday after the Epiphany
The Baptism of our Lord
Year A, RCL
Acts 10:34-43, AEpiphany1, Baptism of Jesus, Isaiah 25:6-9, Isaiah 42:1-9, John 11:21-27,
Matthew 3:13-17, Psalm 23, Psalm 29