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.” Matthew 3:13-17
We come to the first Sunday after Epiphany, when some use this Sunday to celebrate Epiphany. With the arrival of the kings, or the baptism of Jesus, we have to accept that the holidays are over. It feels akin to being called in from recess. Time has fled by and we laughed, hugged, sang and celebrated. It is time for the decorations to come down. We are invited into the work of Epiphany, the celebrating of God's light and love for all. Yet, like reluctant kids dragging in from recess, there is wonderful work to be done. We will be stretched, like John, to see people and things differently. We will be invited to spread light where there is darkness and indeed it is time to let it be so.
Jesus comes to John for baptism. John is horrified, knowing that he, John, is simply the messenger and Jesus is the messiah. The knew their roles and then Jesus reversed everything. John ached to be baptized by Jesus. Love and humility marked the beginning of the Messiah's ministry and became the hallmark the Jesus Movement. We are invited to invited to turn and stretch, to humble ourselves for new insight and new relationship. God's love will spin us around and send us into dark places. God's love also declares that we are, like Jesus and John, beloved children of the Divine.
Today I ask God to help me accept the changes and the stretching that is needed in my life. May we rejoice in the knowledge that we are loved by God and humble ourselves so that we might let love prevail. Let it be so, that the whole world might receive a love so deep that everyone and everything will change for good.
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.