Baptism of Jesus 7 January 2018

Vicar’s Reflection: 1st Sunday after Epiphany/ Baptism of Jesus, 7th January 2018

It feels like someone flicked a switch and we went from a cold and wet winter to a scorching summer with days of heat and sunshine. As Isaiah says in today’s reading: “Arise, shine; for your light has come”. In this heat we are drawn to cool off in water. Ancient peoples feared water as few could swim so a plunge into water meant almost certain death. Today, despite many being taught to swim people still drown –113 people in 2015, and 108 in 2016. Despite the risk, in the summer heat we are drawn to water and plunge into it to be refreshed and cleansed and renewed. Emerging from that first plunge the world itself seems renewed and refreshed. No wonder this experience has since ancient times been associated with repentance and spiritual renewal, as in the practice of baptism. Jesus was baptised by John; long a puzzle, as Jesus was without sin and John was baptising for repentance. But baptism means more than cleansing from sin, it also means joining a family. Jesus explained his baptism as a sign of obedience to His Father’s will. By his baptism Jesus completely identified with us, his brothers and sisters, who are sinners. This means that Jesus accepted the risk and final consequences of being one of us. The meaning of our baptism is accepting the risk and consequences of being fully immersed in the love and life of God through Jesus. Have fun but stay safe in the water this summer. Alex Czerwonka

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