the baptism of our lord
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty God, you anointed Jesus at his baptism with the Holy Spirit and revealed him as your beloved Son. Keep all who are born of water and the Spirit faithful in your service, that we may rejoice to be called children of God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
the DEVOTION. . .
The words leap off the page, “You brood of vipers!” The voice of the baptizer explodes, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And the confrontation only worsens. Hard, harsh. Ruthless, unforgiving. “If you want to be forgiven, prove it! If you want to be saved, act like it!” Threats reverberate. Accusations thunder. The stench of sulphur fills the air. Ax at the roots. Winnowing fork in hand. And, of course, the fire. Always the fire. Starving. Unquenchable.
But then, there’s Jesus. With the crowds. Along the river. Filled with expectation. Questioning. Along with everyone else, he goes into the water. He’s baptized. He prays. The Spirit descends. And softly, tenderly, a voice from heaven speaks. . .
“i love you!”
Bob Barndt, pastor