The question is never, “Do I get a yes? Am I the son or daughter of God, the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased?” That’s a given, the gift of God. It’s the insistence of God in each of our lives. The only question is whether we can discern that gift in the conditions and circumstances of our lives.
“And do you come to me?” (From Matthew 3:13-17, Feast of the Baptism of our Lord, the First Sunday after the Epiphany) That’s the greeting Jesus receives from John. John almost seems surprised, taken aback, that Jesus has come to him. John has been in the wilderness preaching and baptizing. “Repent,” he says, “for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” The people of Jerusalem, … Continue reading He is Always Coming to Us – A Sermon on Matthew 3:13-17
A priest-friend of mine tells this story about a family he knows. It seems a young boy had been at home all day with his mother. He had been a terror all day long. With each incident the mother responded, “You just wait until your dad gets home.” Evening came and the dad got home from work. The mother began telling him about their son’s behavior. The dad looked at his son and before he could say anything the boy cried out, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!”
I wish it was that easy, that clear, that simple. I wish I could say to the sorrows and losses of my life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” I wish I could say to the struggles and difficulties of my life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” I wish I could say to the changes and chances of life, “You can’t touch me. I’ve been baptized!” But that is not how baptism seems to work.
Despite my baptism I have, like every one of you, suffered sorrows and losses of life, encountered difficulties and struggles, had to face the changes and chances of life I would rather have avoided. And despite his baptism that little boy in the story still went to time-out. And yet he speaks a deep truth. He is absolutely right; he is untouchable. At some level he knows that his existence, identity, and value are not limited to time and space; to the things he has done or left undone. He knows himself to be more than his biological existence. He knows himself as beloved. He knows the gift of baptism. Continue reading “A Sermon on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22: The Baptism of Jesus”
Seeing you, O Christ our God, drawing near to him in the river Jordan, John said Why are You who are without defilement come to your servant, O Lord? In whose name shall I baptize you? Of the Father? But you bear him in yourself. Of the Son? But you are yourself the Son made flesh. Of the Holy Spirit? But you know that from your own lips you give him … Continue reading In Whose Name Shall I Baptize You?