As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:15-22
After a full day of clergy conference we begin with our deanery meeting. It is a joy to welcome all these folks here to Sitka. Church meetings can be overwhelming and I am reminded how much of what we do by meeting is to renew and deepen relationships. Sometimes the challenges of gathering is deeply worth it as we find our value in one another and bless each other by our gatherings.
Jesus arrives in the scene to be baptized before he begins his ministry. Although all of John's baptism in in preparation for Jesus' ministry, it is still important for him to join in the ceremony, to join the gathering, to be a part of the people. Coming up out of the water we are told that the heavens opens and a voice declared the Creator's joy and pleasure. As we enter more deeply into the life of our communities we are given a word and a signs of the Creator's joy and pleasure in us through Christ.
Today, I ask God to help us enter fully into the life of our communities. May we be blessed as we enter into the deep water, knowing that God will lift us up and call us each by name. May we see our blessings and delight in one another, and share the joy of God's love this day.