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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings


The Readings for this week can be found here: I Epiphany - The Baptism of Our Lord

Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 29
Acts 10:34-43
Matthew 3:13-17

For some of us this Sunday is one of the primary Baptismal Feast Days in the Church calendar. (The others include All Saints' Day, The Great Vigil of Easter, and Pentecost). Some churches only baptize on these days...

Regardless of whether your church has a baptism on Sunday, or not, this feast day offers us an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of baptism in our lives. This is particularly relevant for those of us who baptize infants, as well as those of us who were baptized as an infant. It is an occasion to "remember" our own baptism.

John Shea, S.T.D., In his book, "The Spiritual Wisdom of the Gospels for Christian Preachers and Teachers: On Earth As It Is In Heaven, Year A" has this to say about these readings:

"Jesus' baptism with Spirit does not substitute for John's baptism with water. Both are needed. The revelation of Jesus includes the revelation of John even while it transcends it. John is the forerunner and essential preparation for Jesus. John clears a path. Without this cleared path Jesus will not arrive. There must be both repentance (baptism of John) and the coming of the Spirit (baptism of Jesus), a disidentification with sin and an identification with the Spirit-infused Child of God. This carefully reflected exchange reflects this nuanced position: the ultimate goal of John's baptizing activity in Jesus, but the advent of Jesus does not make obsolete the work of John. John and Jesus are fundamentally linked, and they symbolize the essential relationship between the forgiveness of sins and the new life in the Spirit. (pg 50).

Where are your thoughts, reflections, ideas, leading you this Sunday?

More on John Shea: he is a theologian and storyteller who lectures internationally on storytelling in world religions, faith-based health care, contemporary spirituality, and the spirit at work movement. He has published eleven books of theology and spirituality and two books of poetry.


  1. AS I noted at my place yesterday I am using the Isaiah 42 as my focus. GIven that many see the Servant of Isaiah's Servant SOngs to possibly be the people of Israel, and that means the people of God, then I see this Servant song as our commissioning.

    I plan to link this with Baptism (both ours and Jesus') as it is the moment of our comissioning into the work of faith. The bulletin has a line marked "Remembering Our Baptism" but I have yet to determine waht that will be...

    If you want you can read my opening thoughts.

  2. I'm thinking about "When Heaven Opens" as a title, using Isaiah and Matthew. What does it take for heaven to open up and God to speak? Did Jesus' coming in some way leave the door open? I sort of think so...but I'm not spending the time on Baptism that you are, Gord, at least I don't think so.

  3. thanks for this! we're having a guest preacher because I'm gone. He's from South AFrica!

  4. I am serving a UCC congregation as an interim pastor. I have learned that this congregation is not familiar with the reaffirmation of baptism. So, that will be my focus. I will do a reaffirmation ritual during the children's time so that they can be part of it. We will be sprinkling the congregation using pine boughs, adapting the liturgy from the UCC Book of Worship. The sermon may be a bit more on the "teaching" side but, like Gord, will be about commissioning into the life of faith, discipleship.

  5. Mompriest, thanks for posting.

    I am not preaching the lectionary texts, instead we are beginning a Year through the Bible with sermons to go along with them. I am starting of course with Genesis 1.

    I love this Sunday in the church year.

  6. Abi, I love the idea of teaching the bible through the year...

    But I also really like being on lectionary and hearing from all of you - some really creative and thought provoking ways to "break open' the Word....

  7. I'm focusing on Isaiah, an doing a short 3 sermon series on discipleship. The first sermon is titled "Those In Whom God's Soul Delights."

    We will reaffirm our baptism as well.

  8. I'm wanting to link the next three Sundays together - baptism of Jesus, John's declaraion of Jesus as Lamb of God, and call of the disciples. I'm thinking this weekend is who Jesus is (Son of God). Next week is what Jesus does (Lamb of God - takes away the sin of the world). The last week is how we are called to join in the "Family Business".

  9. she rev - great idea! looking forward to hearing how it unfolds and how if works for you

  10. Hi y'all...

    I'm thinking of making this Sunday Epiphany part 2 (or maybe Orthodox Epiphany). The Gospel reading is the one the Eastern Orthodox use for Epiphany itself, so why not? The focus of the homily will be on Theophany (the other name for the feast) and on the baptism of Jesus as revealing the trinity...

    Or I might chicken out on that...

    But we'll be blessing the waters and renewing baptism in any case

  11. Abi-

    I recently finished year of the Bible - it was fun, rewarding, challenging. Let me know if I can help in any way.

    Thanks for the lectionary posts - as always they are incredibly helpful - both the psots and the comments.

  12. Golly, I LOVE that picture!

    More later about what I'm preaching. I'll fill you in at the preacher party, but it is (alas) not from the lectionary.

  13. Here is a lectionary aid that I am thinking around as I prepare my sermon. What do you all think.


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