Collect for The First Sunday after the Epiphany:
The Baptism of our Lord
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Readings for today can be found here.
Rite II, Spiritual Communion & Meditation
Rev. Bambi Willis, Rev. David P. Casey, Karla Snellings, and Barry Holliday have coordinated our service for this morning. The service can be found here: https://youtu.be/42eW5wgdFbU
We will be doing Rite II and you can follow along starting on page 355 in the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) can be found here. The Psalm for today is Psalm 29 found on page 620 in the BCP. The readings are Genesis 1:1-5; Acts 19:1-7; and Mark 1:4-11.
A Meditation for The First Sunday after the Epiphany:
The Baptism of our Lord
When I was a little girl, long before I knew that the season of Epiphany in the church was a season of revelation, I knew one thing – my Mom and Dad were both born on January 6, albeit some years apart. So I assumed that you needed to find a life partner who shared your birthday. As a teenager, I realized this requirement greatly narrowed the field of candidates and began to question my assumptions. After consulting with Mom and Dad, I learned to my surprise that sharing the same birthday was not a requirement for marriage. Boy, was that a relief!
On the first Sunday after the Epiphany every year, we hear of the baptism of Jesus. This year our reading comes from the gospel of Mark. Mark writes: And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
That Spirit that descends from heaven is the same spirit or wind of God that swept over the face of the waters in the beginning as we hear in our reading from Genesis. In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.
That Spirit is once again bringing forth light and life, now in the person of Jesus. And what that Spirit reveals is that Jesus is the Beloved Son of God, the light of the world.
Epiphany this year revealed not light but darkness as we all watched non-peaceful protestors on January 6, break into the Capitol, smashing windows, vandalizing offices and which left several folk dead. The scene was nothing we have witnessed before and broke my heart. When I got up on January 6, I was looking for light. When I went to bed I was despairing.
Epiphany this year felt like a baptism by fire. Literally. I could not help but wonder how I should live into my baptismal promises given the gravity of an assault on our capitol. As we affirm our baptismal promises this morning, we all need to be mindful how we live out in our lives what we confess with our lips. Storming the capital of the United States is absolutely not the way.
But now what? How will our baptismal promises inform our way forward? As we continue into this season of revelation may we all follow the light and not the darkness. The darkness will not overcome the light.
Please remember all those on our prayer list this week found here or in the Good News Daily found here.
Rev. Bambi Willis
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A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDING BISHOP CURRY