Sunday, January 07, 2007

Now go forth

Today marks the Baptism of the Lord, the traditional end of the Christmas season, as we hear the reading of Christ's Baptism in the Jordan in Luke 3:15-22:

And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ;

John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. And many other things exhorting, did he preach to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, when he was reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done; He added this also above all, and shut up John in prison.

Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened; And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon him; and a voice came from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Some churches may celebrate the Epiphany today also, but the purpose is the same. Through the Epiphany, Christ first became known as Christ to men. In celebrating the Lord's Baptism today, we are reminded that we must take the miracle of Christ's birth that we mark at Christmas into the world, and use our faith in that miracle to do the work of God in the world-as Jesus did in being baptized in the Jordan.



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