Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 18: Year 1
Morning, Psalm 55; Evening, Psalms 138 and 139:1 to17;
1st Kings 18:41 to 19:8; Philippians 3:17 to 4:7; Matthew 3:13 to 17:
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented:” (Matthew 3:13 to 15).
I understand John. He knows he was born only to announce the coming of the Author of life and love. Yet, he thought, “I am not the one, but you, shouldn’t you baptize me, not me baptize you?”
We say that the baptism of John was a baptism of repentance. Fine, but our Lord Jesus had nothing to repent from. John himself was a servant for sinners in order that they might repent. Therefore, shouldn’t those of us being baptized, be baptized into the call of servanthood?
In the Episcopal Church, baptism makes us Christian. And, I am proud to say we accept the Trinitarian baptism of all Christian faiths. Later in our lives, if we remain steadfast, we are Confirmed by our Bishop. Confirmation then, makes us Episcopalians.
In our Creed we say that we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I think I have been baptized three times. I only discovered one when I sent off for my transcripts for college and my transcripts from Saint Vincent de Paul’s school in Nashville, Tennessee reported that I was identified by baptismal certificate. I never knew that. My intentional baptism was at Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church, Memphis, Tennessee at the Easter Vigil of 1980. That I did know about. And lastly, I could not pass up the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River itself when I visited the Holy Land in February of 2018.
Even while we hold on to our sacred traditions we really don’t know what life will bring us on the morrow. Our Lord Jesus set us the example of humility. He was handed over to Mary for birth. He handed himself over to John to be baptized. And, shamefully, he was handed over by us to be crucified.
I pray that in my baptism, with God’s help, I will seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving my neighbor as myself; and I will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being. So help me God.
A 9 11 note: I will not let the actions of evil find a memorial date on my calendar. My Church has a date for the Commemoration of the faithful departed (November 2).
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John