Our collect reminds us of the baptism we share with Christ and of the promises we make, asking for the power to “boldly confess him as our Lord and Savior.”
The lessons for this Sunday explore the mystery and power of water and the movement of the Holy Spirit. The opening verses of Genesis depict God’s creation of the heavens and the earth at the beginning of time, when “darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Our Psalm reminds us that “the voice of the Lord is upon the waters,” commanding them with power and splendor, as God “sits enthroned above the flood.” In the book of Acts, Paul tells the believers he encounters that—in addition to the baptism of repentance they have received—they must be baptized in the name of Jesus. After this has occurred, Paul lays his hands on them, and they receive the Holy Spirit. We see John the Baptist proclaiming that baptism of repentance in Mark’s gospel, and then we see Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus rose from the water, the Holy Spirit descended “like a dove on him.” And God’s voice from heaven confirms Jesus’ identity as the Beloved.
Water and the Holy Spirit, mystery and power: all of us experience these in our baptism, and through these our identity is established as God’s beloved children, too. Through his baptism Jesus was empowered for the ministry God entrusted to him. Likewise, we are empowered for ours, which consists in fulfilling the promises made in our Baptismal Covenant.
On another note, The Reverend Dan Wagner, newly ordained as a priest of the church, will celebrate his first Holy Eucharist this Sunday. This will be a special day for him, one he will never forget—and a special day in the life of this community as well. I hope that many of you will be present to join in this moment with him.