Readings: Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7; Psalm104; Acts 10:34–38; Luke 3:15–16, 21–22 

Baptism of the Christ by Daniel BonnellWe are thirteen days into this New Year. The Christmas celebrations have officially ended. The gifts have been given and in some cases returned. The Christmas trees have been taken down and now lay dying on the curb. Family and friends who gathered to celebrate with us have returned home. Life moves on…routinely. 

Liturgically we have moved from the baby in the manager, to the toddler worshiped by the kings; and now today, we stand on the shores of the Jordan with an adult male. We hear the familiar words of promise by John; words of hope echoed by the prophets of old. Could this be the Messiah?

“I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” 

Then, the One steps forward and is baptized! In that moment…

“…heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased.’” 

In that moment, heaven opened and the barrier was removed.  God came crashing down, breaking into human history and each of our lives. The kingdom had come and still comes. 

At our baptism, the promise of God’s love and grace was made known to us and all gathered. We were also called “Beloved.” 

Where in your life is God breaking through today and calling you “Beloved”?

 – Rev. Rowena Kemp, SCNY Associate

A 1991 graduate of the College of Mount Saint Vincent, Rowena currently ministers as Priest in Charge at Grace Episcopal Church, Hartford, CT.



Image: Baptism of the Christ by Daniel Bonnell