January 12, 2020
Baptism of Jesus: "Marked for a purpose"
"This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased," we hear in today's Gospel referring to Jesus. From the moment of his baptism, Jesus is marked for a purpose by God. So are we.
Next week our nation remembers The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, civil rights leader and Baptist preacher and official saint in the Episcopal Church. Dr. King popularized a term coined by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce. Dr. King spoke about the "beloved community" in a 1956 speech he gave at a rally following the Supreme Court decision desegregating buses in Montgomery, Alabama. King said, "The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community."
For followers of Jesus, being a beloved community begins in our baptism, our being named "beloved" by God, marked and set apart for a purpose of serving Christ in the world. "Beloved" requires putting away our own selfish desires and seeking out those in need. It means practicing agape, sacrificial love, beginning right here at Saint Ann's.
The season of Epiphany follows naturally from the 12 Days of Christmas. In the words words of Howard Thurman "Now the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among all to make music in the heart." This is our purpose this season of Epiphany and every day.
P.S. Thank you for continuing to wear your nametags. If this is a new custom for you, I am particularly grateful to you for wearing these tags which will help me and Steve (and other newcomers) get to know one another even more quickly.