Today we continue the season of Epiphany. To learn more about what Epiphany is all about, go here. We begin each week with a reflection that includes scriptures and prayers that can be used every day as meditation and devotion.
I have been reading The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister. If you are enjoying the new focus on Sacred Margins, I highly recommend it.
She explains the Liturgical year as a sort of pilgrimage. As we seek to make the life of Jesus our life, we notice the important moments of the life he lived here on earth. His journey is our journey, so each step along the journey becomes a moment for us to experience as well.
This week we stop at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The time where the waiting has stopped and the Son of God will be revealed for who He is. A human who takes on our humanity and walks along with us. But, at the same time, the exact representation and embodiment of God. Some traditions even celebrate this as Christmas.
We begin to pause and ask what Jesus presence means for our lives.
On this particular stop, we also hear the voice of God speaking to his Son:
“You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus life is our life. We are heirs and children with Jesus. So this stop reminds us that God speaks those same words to us.
“You are my beloved child with whom I am well pleased.”
May we rest in this blessing over the coming week.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children from east and west.
I will say to the north and south,
‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
from the distant corners of the earth.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.’”
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Dear Father –
It was your voice that thundered over the waters
and spoke the world from chaos into existence.
And it was your voice that spoke over the waters of baptism
declaring Jesus as your own beloved and favored child.
Help me today to recall my own baptism
and hear your voice speak the same to me –
that I am your beloved child
and that your favor rests upon me.