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Working on Love

This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7; Psalm 29:1-2, 3-4, 9-10; Acts 10-:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17

Sermon Week The Baptism of the Lord Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 3:17

The following is a true story.

A pastor who was always excited about the opportunity to baptize, hurriedly took his place to commence the service, then remembered that the woman to be baptized had requested that her nose and mouth be covered as she was lowered into the water. Since the pastor had forgotten to bring a handkerchief into the baptistery, he whispered in a barely audible voice to the assisting deacon to retrieve one from the dressing room. The deacon looked a bit puzzled by his request but hurried off to fulfill it. In a moment, he returned and handed the pastor a hanger, which he thought was what he had asked for. There the pastor stood, fully robed, with the candidate in the water and a clothing hanger in his hand. Picture that for a moment. So, what do you do with a wire hanger at the beginning of a baptismal service? Why you improvise of course! Fortunately, the pastor had been reading from Galatians that morning which was fresh in his mind. "My dear people," he began, "as the Apostle Paul reminds us, 'All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ'" (Gal 3:27). And with that, the quick-thinking preacher passed the hanger back to the Deacon and proceeded with the service!

Today's Gospel Lesson is the story of Jesus' baptism. At this point, Jesus is about thirty years old and we know very little about Him. At age twelve He appeared for a moment in the Temple for what today would be a Bar Mitzvah. It is eighteen years later when he again appears: at the River Jordan where John is baptizing and preaching about the Kingdom. Jesus says to John in effect, "Here I am, baptize Me, I want to be part of this." And, in a most dramatic way, God uses the event to call Jesus into His public ministry. The Gospel writer speaks of the Holy Spirit coming in the form of a dove and the voice of God saying, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am [...]

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