The Baptism of the Lord – HD [Proper 1] (White)

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

Readings   ISAIAH 42:1-9; PSALM 29; ACTS 10:34-43; MATTHEW 3:13-17 

Collect        Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit, keep your children, born of water and the Spirit, faithful to their calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Prayer over the Gifts

God of life and freedom, we celebrate the revelation of Jesus as the Christ who makes all creation new. Accept all we offer you this day and make us new in him, who is Lord for ever and ever. 

Prayer After Communion

Gracious God, lover of all, by this sacrament you make us one family in Christ your Son, one in the sharing of his body and blood, one in the communion of his Spirit. Help us to grow in love for one another and come to the full maturity of the Body of Christ. We ask this in his name.

First Reading

8 am           THE FIRST LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 42nd CHAPTER OF THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH, BEGINNING AT THE 1ST VERSE.

10 am                   A READING FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH.

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

8 am           THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am         HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD                              

ISAIAH 42:1-9

Psalm
PSALM
REFRAIN The Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. R

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendour. R

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox. R

The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire; the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare.

And in the temple of the Lord all are crying, “Glory!” R

The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.

The Lord shall give strength to his people; the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace. R

PSALM 29

Second Reading

8 am           THE EPISTLE LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 10TH CHAPTER OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, BEGINNING AT THE 34TH VERSE.

10 am         A READING FROM THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.

Peter began to speak to the Gentiles: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ – he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

8 am           THE WORD OF THE LORD.

10 am         HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.

THANKS BE TO GOD

ACTS 10:34-43

Gospel

8 am           THE LORD BE WITH YOU. AND WITH THY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 3RD CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW, BEGINNING AT THE 13TH VERSE.

GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD.

10 am         THE LORD BE WITH YOU.           AND ALSO WITH YOU.

THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO SAINT MATTHEW.

GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.

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 fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.                           (MATTHEW 3:13-17)

Sermon

Let us pray.

Holy God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

AMEN

In the Anglican tradition, as it has existed for many hundreds of years, limits how many of us will actually remember our own baptisms.

Most Anglicans will have been baptised as infants and all that will exist are the accounts of those who were there to witness the event. I was about a year and a half old when I was baptised – there is no chance that I remember the event. Actually, I have never even seen a picture of that auspicious event.

In some ways the account we have of Jesus’ baptism at the hands of John in the Jordan River might be an eye-witness account to any baptism since that time. There was water and a baptiser and the person being baptised. The rite was performed and somehow everyone participating was different.

Having said that it is possible to know the effect of the sacrament by its impact on our lives.

It was foretold of Jesus, the Messiah, “he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”

As only God can He changed his mind by the time He got here Jesus managed anger on occasion – ask the money changers in the temple. He also showed frustration once in awhile – Peter and the other Disciples talk about that.

On balance and especially in the instructions he issued to us – to Love God and Love our neighbours, Jesus is clear that we are to walk gently with each other.

Luke, in the Book of Acts reading for today, reminds us that we are called to share the Good News with everyone that we meet. It is my experience that people are more receptive to Good News that is shared in a way that emulates the prophesy of Isaiah – not crying or lifting one’s voice, or trampling on anything.

At our baptism we are incorporated into the Baptism of Jesus. The Baptism at which he was confirmed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God and confirmed as well-pleasing in God’s sight. We are joined together with God and each other in that moment when the water touched our heads.

There is no requirement that a person remember the moment of their baptism because it is, in fact, more important, like our Gospel account, that those who were there and bore witness to it remember. It is the job of every other member of the Body of Christ to incorporate the newest member fully into it. One who is young in the faith, be they adults or children, cannot be expected to know that the members of the Body of Christ are called to Love each other – it is our job to demonstrate that Love by our actions and behaviour.

As you may have heard me say before, Jesus does not necessarily call us to like each other – though, of course, that is not discouraged. We are called, rather, to Love each other – a very different emotion.

We are called to be at peace with one another. In the service of Holy Communion, and even in the Morning Prayer, we carve out an opportunity to establish, or re-establish, Peace. It is in the exchange of the Peace that we are encouraged to repair relationships that are fractured.

We are joined to one another in a single body, with Christ Jesus at its head. There is no member of the body who is unimportant.

We all have things about our bodies that we might change; some of us may have even gone through with it. In some occasional fits of vanity I have considered what my teeth might look like with a little work done – I have not seriously done anything about it and likely won’t, but nonetheless I have pondered it. Mechanically there is not anything wrong with them, the perform their function pretty well. So it is not a matter of correcting for an actual problem – just my desire for straighter teeth.

I seem to find myself stumbling on the idea that perfection is a pretty high bar and likely not within my power to achieve.

That last line from Acts today gives us some hint about perfection – everyone who believes in [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name. The fact is that Jesus does not reach out to the perfect. He reaches out to those who need forgiveness of those things which human imperfection has led us to that separates us from our unity with God and the Body of Christ.

We are called to Love God and Love our neighbours. In that equation only God is perfect, neither our neighbour nor we are perfect. Both our neighbour and we are in need of hearing the Good News that our imperfection is forgivable and that forgiveness flows from God in the waters of Baptism and ongoing in the bread and wine of the Holy Communion.

So, go forth into the world sharing, with everyone you meet, the Good News of the forgiveness of our imperfection at the hands of a merciful and gracious God.

We are all called to the waters of Baptism and to the table of the Lord to partake of bounty that is laid out for us.                                       AMEN