This week, Covenant will observe “Baptism of Our Lord Sunday.” The assigned Gospel text includes Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.
Baptism is an act of “coming out.” It’s going public about who you are and your spiritual allegiance on your faith journey. At Covenant we describe baptism as an outward expression of an inward reality; a public acknowledgement of saying yes to being in relationship with God.
So, Covenant joins other churches in the Christian communion that offer an opportunity each year on this Sunday for reaffirmation one’s baptism. Deacon Frank Dodson reminds me each year that this is one of his favorite services. I admit it has come to be one of mine also.
Reading the assigned Gospel text this week, I took a new look at Jesus’ Baptism. I noticed that though His baptism was a coming out and public event for Him; there was a deeply personal and encouraging response from God to Jesus’ baptism. The scriptures say, “… and the Holy Spirit came down on Him in bodily form like a dove. And there was a voice from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I dearly love: in You I find happiness.’ “
Perhaps the reason Baptism of our Lord Sunday is observed on the 2nd Sunday of the first month of the year is because early in the year, each of us need to be reminded that we are “a child of God and dearly loved by God!”
Join us for worship this Baptism of our Lord Sunday. My sermon will be “A New Look at Baptism” based on “Isaiah 43:1-5a” and “Luke 3:15-17, 21-22.” And we will offer the opportunity for you to be baptized or to reaffirm your baptism.
The Baptism of Jesus is commemorated each year on the first Sunday following Epiphany, January 6. This year that was the first Sunday of the New Year. At Covenant, we have chosen to commemorate it as we normally do on this week on the Second Sunday of the New Year. That also means following the lectionary scriptures assigned for this Sunday requires us to look at baptism with a depth that goes beyond baptism being an outward sign of an inward spiritual reality taking place.
Rev. Michael Piazza shared the following this week: “I have no idea what the sign actually said, but, driving to the airport … it seems it said, ‘Hope Repaired Here’. It was tempting to turn around and see what it really said and what they really repaired. The thing is, as someone whose hope has been damaged a bit during the past couple years, it felt better to think that there really is a place that repairs shattered hopes.”
As I thought about his words, it dawned on me that there is such a place. It’s called our hearts. The assigned text for this Sunday from Psalm 139 & I Corinthians 6 goes to great lengths to remind us that God who made us, knows us, loves us, is always present with us, and we belong to God! That reminder is where hope is repaired!
Being baptized or re-affirming our baptism is meant be a time when we are reminded in our innermost being, that hope is repaired right here within us. “Baptism” reminds us that hope is repaired “When We Say Yes” to a relationship with God.
So, join us on this “Baptism of Our Lord” Sunday at Covenant. We will commemorate the Baptism of Jesus with Baptisms by Immersion and reaffirmations of Baptism with sprinkling as part of our worship. My sermon will be “Baptism: When We Say Yes” based on Psalm 139, 1-6, 13-18 and I Corinthians 6:12, 19-20.