This Sunday we celebrate the baptism of our Lord by John in Galilee. The Matthew gospel indicates that John hesitates and suggests–because he knows who Jesus is; remember they are cousins–that he should be baptized by Jesus. Jesus says no; do it this way for now.
Perhaps John hesitates also because he knows how serious this is. Both he and Jesus have been pretty busy proclaiming a new way, a new kingdom of God. But baptizing Jesus is kind of an exclamation point, a strong statement, that this is truly, the Son of God.
They also both knew trouble would follow such a proclamation.
Of course trouble follows us too when we follow Him. Remember, the world does not see things the way we do. The world says more, more, more, me, me, me (sound familiar?). Our brother Jesus says less, less, less, others, others, others.
When we were baptized most of us had no idea what was going on. Our parents did it, recruited a couple of friends (who made pretty substantial commitments themselves), invited all to church to watch us cry as the priest poured the water over our forehead. We, the ones being baptized, had no idea what was going on.
So those asked to serve as godparents, and the entire congregation that day, during the Baptism, are also asked to make serious commitments for the child. During the service the godparents and parents, speaking for the baptized person, say “I will with God’s help,” several times and then we are all asked to do the same as the Body of Christ. We say ‘we will!’ over and over.
Truth is we make a lot of commitments to God during our lives. Some of us have said “I do.” Some have said “I will” and some, those that have been confirmed in the Episcopal Church have said “I will with God’s help” to a whole series of questions.
We’ve made big commitments being Christians. Commitments Jesus won’t let us go back on. Can we live up this serious work, these serious promises?
This Sunday we will explore Baptism as part of our understanding of Emmanuel as a verb, an action word. As I wrap up the three part Message Series on Emmanuel as a call to serve Jesus, we’ll take a look at all those times we have committed before–and how it might be a good idea to commit again and maybe we can use the coming Lent as a place and time to do that.
Peace and all good,