Read this gospel and envision all the words: Jesus meeting John, wild John being submissive, both entering the water, John baptizing Jesus, and then . . . the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended, lit on Jesus, and a voice says “This is . . . the Beloved . . ..” Many can point to elements that are similar to their own baptisms though many others were too young to “remember”. Even so, it’s hard to imagine a voice saying “This is the Beloved” when we were baptized, but it was there. Baptism affirms that we are God’s beloved, his children. There can be no greater comfort or blessing than that. I am God’s beloved . . . and you are too!
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Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
sermons4kids: “God is pleased with you when you become His child. It’s wonderful to hear God say, “You are my child. I love you. And I am pleased with you.””
Collect: 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.
Reflection: In Romans 8:29 Paul wrote that God meant for Jesus to be “the firstborn within a large family.” What does that mean to you? What does your baptism have to do with it??
Practice: In what ways can you see that you are God’s beloved?
Saint Focus: The story of Maurus and Placidus is a bit of folk lore from the sixth century. Son of a Roman nobleman, Maurus at 12 years old was sent to be educated by St. Benedict. Placidus was an oblate of St. Benedict. Benedict sent Placidus to fetch water; unfortunately Placidus fell into the lake. Realizing this, Benedict asked Maurus to rescue Placidus. Without thinking, Maurus ran to do so, running across the lake and returning with Placidus. Read more at the link below [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were :
- 12; Aelred of Rievaulx, Abbot & Theologian, 1167 AND Caesaria of Arles, Monastic, c.465
- 13; Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 367
- 14; George Berkeley, Bishop & Philosopher, 1753
- 15; Maurus & Placidus, Disciples of St. Benedict, c.584
Movies/Videos: “The Shipping News” (2001), ripening of a weak-willed man; “O brother, where art thou?” (2000), baptism in the river scene; “How to train your dragon“, (2010), how to fulfill your purpose.
Let’s celebrate your baptism. Do you (or a family member) have pictures? Share these with your friends. How old were you when you were baptised? Remember that just as God proclaimed Jesus “the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” you too are beloved children of God.
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
From Sharon Blezard, So It is website:
. . . Baptism is the sacrament (or initiation rite) by which we are grafted into God’s family. Why not start by exploring your faith tradition’s baptismal practices, language, and promises? Whether you practice immersion, pouring, dipping, or sprinkling, the earthly element that “carries” the language of this sacrament is water. We are baptized in the name of the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In baptism we die to our sinful and selfish nature; our false self is drowned so that the beloved child of God we are created to be can rise. For Lutherans and folks of many other faith traditions, it is God’s action, not our own, that signs, seals, and delivers one from the power of death and by whom the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. Even for those who practice believer’s baptism, God is still the actor and author of this means of grace. . . .