The Baptism of our Lord

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Second Sunday in Easter, Year A May 1, 2011 Second Sunday of Easter, Year A Acts 2:14a, 22-32, I Peter 1:3-9, John 20:19-31
Easter Sunday April 24, 2011 Easter Day, 2011 Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; John 20:1-18
Good Friday April 22, 2011 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Maundy Thursday, April 21, 2011 April 21, 2011 Maundy Thursday 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 April 17, 2011 Palm Sunday Mathew 27
Fifth Sunday in Lent – Raising of Lazarus April 10, 2011 Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 11:1-45
Fourth Sunday in Lent April 3, 2011 Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A John 9:1-41; Psalm 23
Second Sunday in Lent, Year A March 20, 2011 Second Sunday in Lent, Year A Genesis 12: 1-4a; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3: 1-17, Psalm 121
First Sunday in Lent, March 13, 2011 March 13, 2011 First Sunday in Lent, Year A Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 5:12-19, Romans 8:18-25
Ash Wednesday Sermon March 9, 2011 Ash Wednesday Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Last Sunday After Epiphany March 6, 2011 Last Sunday after Epiphany Matthew 17:1-9
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow February 27, 2011 Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 49:8-16a; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34
Choose Life February 13, 2011 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
We are the Salt of the Earth February 6, 2011 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Matthew 5:13-20, Isaiah 58:1-12
Shalom January 30, 2011 Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Matthew 5:1-12

 

The Baptism of our Lord

Sermon Date:January 9, 2011

Scripture:

Matthew 3:13-17

Liturgy Calendar:

The Baptism of our Lord, Year A


Today marks the first time that I have gotten up to news that has caused me to rewrite my
sermon for the day. 

These headlines, “Congresswoman critically shot” and “Congresswoman shot in Tucson
rampage”  with the following articles revealing that six people died and thirteen others were injured in a shooting that took place in broad daylight on a street corner in Tucson left me full of sorrow and horror that an event like this could happen in our country.

And I believe that events of this sort, no matter what their cause, which could be
endlessly debated, are important events that we should consider together as Christians,

Especially as Christians who almost every Sunday pray about our country through singing
the fourth stanza of  that National Song in our hymn book, “My Country Tis of Thee.”

“Our father’s God, to thee, author of liberty,

To thee we sing,

Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light,

Protect us by thy might, great God our king.”

Freedom’s holy light is dimmed by acts of violence like the one yesterday that left so
many people injured, and so many people killed, including a nine year old girl.

Where exactly was God, the author of liberty, God who we pray to protect us through
his might, in the events of yesterday?

And  what are our responsibilities as Christians  who want to live in a land
that can be described as a land that is full of freedom’s holy light?

In light of these two questions, where was God, and what are our responsibilities as
Christians in this country, let’s turn now to the good news we’ve just heard,

About the baptism of Jesus.

Jesus, who is sinless, must have thought long and hard about the decision to be baptized,
because the journey to the Jordan where John was baptizing would not have been a quick or easy journey.

And then when Jesus got there, John protested.

“Why on earth are you coming to me to be baptized?”

Jesus says that “it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness,” and so
John baptizes Jesus , and God is well pleased.”

To fulfill all righteousness—in fulfilling righteousness, we find the good news that Jesus
brings to us through his baptism—because two things took place

The first thing that Jesus did was to be obedient. 

Jesus, who was sinless, showed his solidarity with all of the sinners who had gathered on
the riverbank when he asked to be lowered beneath the water in baptism.

He entered into the one substance on earth that most fully defined him as one of us.

He entered water, the water we must have to sustain life, the water that both gives life
and takes it away, the substance that brings us not only joy, but also sorrow, because water is not only life giving, but death dealing.

Through his obedient action, Jesus showed the world that he, a human being, would live and
die as one of us—not as God, pretending to be human, but as a man, a man who would experience our lives, yet without sin.

In addition to being obedient, Jesus trusted God.

Jesus, and John too, showed through the baptism that they both believed that God had a
plan for the world’s salvation, even though John could not see how that plan would unfold.

They trusted God’s plan, and so through their obedience in this baptism, they showed that
they trusted God.

Obedience and trust. 

This is the good news that Jesus offers to us, and this is the good news that we as Christians can bring to our nation.

God is calling us, as Christians, to be obedient

And to show, through our obedience, that we believe that God has a plan for the salvation of
each of us, and for the salvation of the world. 

That GOD has a plan—our job is to be obedient to that plan.

God’s plan for us, and this is the good news that we can bring to the world as Christians,

God’s plan is that we should be obedient to the way of life that Jesus modeled for us.

In solidarity with us, Jesus modeled a life of love, healing and compassion. 

And our baptismal covenant spells out how we are to try to be obedient to that way of
life. 

Please turn with me to page 304 in the Book of Common Prayer.

After this sermon, we will be renewing our baptismal covenant by answering these
questions, as we did last week,

But for now, let’s take a look at what we are promising to do, as the church, in order to be
obedient to God’s plan for us.

First of all, we agree to what it is we all believe through the outline of the Nicene
Creed.

We believe in  God, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

And because we believe in God, and trust in God’s plan for us, we then agree to do the
following things.

First, we agree to gather together as Christians on a regular basis, so that we can
continue to learn, continue to enjoy fellowship with one another, to share God’s love through Eucharist, and to pray together.

Second, we agree to persevere in resisting evil, and whenever we fall into sin, repent and
return to the Lord. 

Resisting evil has a personal as well as a communal dimension.  God is calling each one of us to resist evil in some particular way in our lives.  That call is unique to each one of us.

But God is also calling us, as the body of Christ, to resist the evil of fighting among
ourselves, quarreling, gossiping, creating ill will and hostility within our
Christian community.  Whenever we give into the urge to put one another down, to denigrate one another, to point fingers, lay blame, and hate one another, we are giving in to the work of the devil in our very midst. 

As obedient Christians, we want to resist the temptation to fall into the sin of alienating
ourselves from one another.

We are to proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.   God wants us to go out and live our lives in this broken world as Jesus lived his life.   Jesus lived a life of love, compassion and forgiveness in a violent and broken world, and he paid the price for living that way.  He
died on a cross. 

And God expects no less of us—God expects us to live lives of love, compassion and
forgiveness in our world, a world which is still full of violence and hatred. 

We are the people that God expects to proclaim the GOOD NEWS. 

We are the ones.

We do this by seeking God in all persons.

All persons, not just people like us, the people who see the world just the way we do.

And we do this by serving all persons, even those people that we would not choose to
serve on our own.

And as obedient Christians, we are called to strive for justice and peace among all
people.  As Christians, we are called to treat one another justly, and with respect, even when, and especially when,  we experience conflict within our community. 

And last of all, we are called to respect the dignity of every human being.    We are obedient to this call when we seek Christ in other people, and honor them by respecting
them as members of God’s good creation.

As I said last Sunday, the good news that we have to share through our baptism is our
unity with one another through our common goal of being obedient to God in the way that we live with one another in community.

Our divided country desperately needs this witness of our lives of unity and love as people
of God.

And the good news is that we are marked as Christ’s own forever, and God will help us to
live as Jesus did.  God will help us to be obedient to this way of life.

And as I said at the Epiphany service, we are the ones who get to carry the light into
this broken world

By trying to live as Jesus did so that others can find his love, healing and compassion in us.

Where was God yesterday when people lay dying on the sidewalk?

God was with them in their suffering and in their deaths.  God was in the people who stopped the gunner and held him down until the police could come.

God will be in the conversations about this event—the conversations  that look for how we can forgive one another, reconcile with one another, and have compassion for one another, rather than blaming particular groups, and  pointing the finger at one another, deepening our divisions. 

God will be in the way that we as Christians witness to the world through our obedient
attempts to follow Jesus. 

The Good News is that God calls us to be obedient.

The Good News is that God calls us to trust.

The Good News is that we can do all of the things we have promised to do,

With God’s help.

Amen.

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