13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 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. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw God’s Spirit descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from the heavens said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Here it is, again! That same self doubt in John the Baptist we heard a month ago. Whaaaat Jesus? You’re crazy if you think I have any power to help you. I’m a nobody, can’t you see? But Jesus answered him, “Please, John, you’re a part of my plan to help right this world. Do it, for me, for you, for everybody.” And he does, John says, “Yes, Jesus, I’ll help baptize you.” In the act of consenting to be a part of Jesus’ plan, John ushers in one of the most powerful moments in human history. He holds the body of Christ, affirming God’s full union with humanity, as the Holy Spirit flutters to earth…the moment our image of the triune God is born.
In the human act of baptism, Jesus opens the heavens to share with us all that heavenly voice of affirmation we crave: my son, my daughter, my child, you are beloved. With you I am well pleased!” I’m not sure any of us would truly believe the Jesus story if we didn’t crave these words in our lives. John got to be front and center witness to this truth, because he said “yes, Jesus, I’ll participate in your baptism.”
What a holy and exhilarating way to live- believing that Jesus wants to use US to make things right here on earth. In preparation to receive new members, I often ask myself, what’s my elevator pitch for why church matters. I think I’ve said it a hundred different ways. Here are a few reasons I believe joining in church together matters:
This week I’ve added a new one:
In a conversation with our new member Lori this week, she affirmed her why so well: “It feels like a true family here,” she says, “I feel so loved and welcome.” It’s because you are, Lori. Your whole family is loved and valued and appreciated, the way each person within our caring circle is. The power behind this statement is the “chosen family,” the “through thick and thin commitment” we forge for one another, with a simple and powerful YES.
Friends, Jesus’ invitation to be a part of his plan to help right this world is always open. Affirming our intention to be an active part of the body of Christ is a way of saying YES to what Jesus is already doing within our hearts. We are being formed into the likeness of our creator so that God's kingdom might come here on earth as it is in heaven; This is what we celebrate today. Like John the Baptist, we wrestle our self doubt and take one step of faith at a time, holding on to one another for support along the way. The intentional community we create is inspired by Christ’s desire to be among us when we gather. We celebrate our collective YES by installing our 2023 church leaders today.
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Rev. Emily Munger
delights in connecting sacred texts with everyday life.