On the First Sunday after the Epiphany we reflect on the baptism of our Lord by John the Baptizer, the Gospel Reading from Mark 1:4-11. We begin this reflection with the Collect praying that God will “grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior…”
In baptism, we are drawn into unity with Christ, in a covenant relationship. More than anything, it is an invitation to come and experience union with Christ. In this Christian experience, the Holy Spirit transforms and energizes us to reflect Jesus in the world.
“Bold confession”, as in the Collect, takes place in the world, where we live now, in the present. While John’s baptism was for repentance, in anticipation of judgment, Christian baptism is itself a confession of Christ in the world, not so much by creeds and proclamations but through Christian living and witness.
So, the question today is: How are we reflecting Jesus in the world we live in?
As I am writing, we are troubled by the terror and carnage in Paris this week. There is the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. We are surrounded by despair and lack of purpose in the midst of prosperity and abundance. How are Christians reflecting Christ in this world?
In the gospel, after Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit, like a dove, descended on him. The dove symbolizes innocence, gentleness, peace, humility and moral purity. Being baptized in Christ embodies those attributes in daily life and interactions with one another.
When Jesus left Nazareth of Galilee he accepted a call, a vocation. Indeed, his baptism marks the beginning of his ministry. In baptism, we too accept a vocation. Again so we are further challenged: How faithful and bold have we been in our various vocations?
Being Christian is a gift and our vocation begins with the invitation to come and receive, only then are we enabled to go and do.