NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014
This Sunday is known as “The Baptism of Our Lord Sunday.” The lectionary scripture readings take us in just a couple of weeks on a quantum leap of 30 years from Jesus’ birth to His baptism, the beginning of His ministry life. Other than the incident in temple at the age of 12, we know very little about the life Jesus lived for most of those first 30 years. However, from the time of His Baptism forward through His ascension many of the events of His life, though not exhaustive, are recorded in the Gospels.
Perhaps with Jesus being our ultimate example, maybe knowing very little of His life before His baptism is an important signal to us. Perhaps having gained most of our knowledge about His life starting with His baptism, signals to us a special hope of a new life that begins with baptism. Maybe what we are being taught is that “Baptism” really is “The Water That Brings A New Beginning.” At some point in our lives, we all need a fresh start. Perhaps that’s why we observe the “Baptism of Our Lord” on the second Sunday of each new year … to give us the hope of a new beginning each new year. Maybe it’s a reminder of our faith in the fact that God will be with us throughout the year.
William B. Kincaid, III in the book called “And then Came The Angel“, tells this story of a pastor’s words to a baby shortly after he had baptized her. No doubt, the minister was speaking as much to the congregation as to the infant. He said, “Little sister, by this act of baptism, we welcome you to a journey that will take your whole life. This isn’t the end. It’s the beginning of God’s experiment with your life. What God will make of you, we know not. Where God will take you, surprise you, we cannot say. This we do know and this we say — God is with you.” My friends, it doesn’t get any better than that.
My prayer and hope is that as we observe the “Baptism of our Lord” this Sunday, we will remember that “Baptism” really is “The Water That Brings A New Beginning,” and God will be with us as we live out our baptism.
I also hope and pray you will join us in worship this Baptism of our Lord Sunday. I will be preaching a sermon called “Baptism: The Water That Brings A New Beginning” based on the scripture text of Acts 10:34-43 and Matthew 3:13-17.