So, Ashley's been asking me for several months to write some posts for her blog. If you're a regular reader, you know she really doesn't need my help, but I have resolved in 2014 to post more or less regularly here. To do that, I plan to cheat a little. Since Ashley doesn't blog on Sundays and since I usually spend some time crafting a call to worship for the congregation at Cave City United Methodist Church, I'm planning to post these short(ish) invitations on Sundays.
This first one is a bit odd. Brother Roger decided our church needed to treat today (the 12th day of Christmas!) as the first Sunday following Epiphany, which is a week early. Traditionally observed on 6 January or on the Second Sunday of Christmas, the Epiphany celebrates the recognition of God -with-us by commemorating the visitation of the magi. The first Sunday following Epiphany is usually when we mark The Baptism of Our Lord . That's what we did today.
The earth lies fallow and indifferent within a cold and bitter crust when the rain and snow come falling heavily down. It is an unwelcome interruption, and the water moves quickly down the draws and into the ponds and creekbeds or stays fluffy and frozen on the hard soil. And it will be like this mostly for the next weeks and months. The earth is comfortable and satisfied in its cold slumber.
But the water is relentless. It will work and worm and wind its way into the cracks and holes on the surface and into the deep bed and rock of the earth. It will create space and pool. And then the earth will start tilting back on its axis again, and this part of the world will get a little warmer. Then the water will wash up against a seed that has been deposited by hope or chance, and what happens next is maybe mundane, maybe miracle: the seed begins to reach out toward the light and joins the growing green celebration of the world that stretches through spring and summer and into harvest in the fall.
This world is being baptized in these cold, wet days.
You were baptized like this too. You were washed with the cold water from a fount or plunged into the bracing depth of a baptistry or big creek. The water bathed you and worked its way into your skin, into the deep core of your soul. You may have been otherwise comfortable and slumbering, but this water changed you. It made you part of this people of God, part of all creation’s celebration of the God who is with us.
And so on this day when we mark the Epiphany recall the baptism of our Lord, remember your baptism. Remember the women an men who brought you to it. And remember that it marks you as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, in whose name we gather this morning.
At this point, if you feel moved to sing "Be Thou My Vision," go for it. That's what we did this morning, and it's a great song!