January 13, 2013 The Baptism of our Lord | The Community
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January 13, 2013 The Baptism of our Lord

This week’s readings

While our preacher’s table is covered in snow like a wedding cake, it is hard to place ourselves in a river in the middle of a desert watching a man be baptized, but here we are.

Our church will hold a baptism this Sunday. How about you? How are you carrying through the miracle of the Incarnation?

I suspect at our church we will also continue some conversation about our Natural Church Development process, particularly fitting as we remember our own baptismal vows. Do you renew your baptismal vows on this day? How do you bring people back to the day of their baptism, and connect it with Jesus’ baptism?

Dawn Leger

About Dawn Leger

I am a priest in the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, having served in Stouffville, Ontario. I think preaching is a profound and great privilege granted to us by God and our Church. I love the reading, the writing, the proclaiming, the dissecting and the dialogue. I also love to cook, sing, read and laugh, in no particular order.
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0 Responses to January 13, 2013 The Baptism of our Lord

  1. Kyle Norman

    I am going to be doing something a bit different this year.  I am intruiged and challenged by our reading from Acts – and it’s description of people who are baptised in name only.  So the focus for “The baptism of the Lord” will be on how Jesus baptises us ‘with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

    However, I am conciousl that Peter and John go the community, lay hands on the people and they recieve the Holy spirit.  So I don’t want to end my sermon with a lovely challenge of faith with no action.  I am contemplating somehow making the laying on of hands for the purpose of recieving the holy spirit available to the congregation.

  2. Dawn Leger

    That sounds really cool. My first reaction was a cautionary note that receiving the Holy Spirit is confirmation and is for the bishop. But then I recalled a prayer from Occasional Celebrations. It is for commissioning for parish ministries, but I think could be a good prayer to go along with anointing, adapted or as is:

    Let us pray.
    Blessed are you, gracious God,
    our creator and redeemer.
    In every age you call people
    to minister in your name.
    May the work of this your servant
    so build up your Church,
    that we may faithfully serve you
    and show your love in all the world.
    Blessed are you, O God,
    now and for ever. Amen.

    (Page 150, Occasional Celebrations).

  3. Kyle Norman

    Thanks for that prayer Dawn. 

    I am not worried about the whole confirmation thing, because I don’t think this passage actually addresses it.  I know people use this to affirm the ‘process’ of baptism and confirmation, or a ‘two baptisms’ type of theology; but I see this as a more organic.  I think this passage (and others in Acts) simply show a link between Baptism, Inclusion in the community,  repentance/forgiveness, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, but the order is always different.

    .For whatever reason the bestowal of Holy Spirit seemed to be lacking in the faith-life of the congregation, and so the Apostles pray for that to take place.  I can’t see how making the space for that to happen is stepping on the Bishop’s toes.  (frankly, sometimes I wonder if our forms and structures hinder more than help)

    I think there are probably many in our churches who are baptised (and confirmed) in name only, and don’t have an inner spiritual connection with Jesus – which I feel is what this passage points us toward. 

    I am excited, nervous, anxious, about what will happen on sunday.

  4. Dawn Leger

    Glad it is helpful. I agree wholeheartedly with you. It was my first reaction to the language. I get where you are going and I think it will be an important message for your folks.

  5. two thoughts: about ‘confirmation, &c  – if you recall the 39 Articles, you’ll remember that in Article XXV (Of the Sacraments) that there are but two ‘Sacraments of the Lord’  –viz. Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – the others -Confirmation included – are ‘not necessary to Salvation.’

    Second thought: please remember that ‘Baptisms’ all through the Epistles were performed ‘in the name of Jesus; in Jesus’ name’ &c. The Trinitarian formula in Mt28:19 was not added until just before the Council of Nicaea in 325; (principally to counteract any incipient Arianism)

    Other than that, sounds pretty good. (from a scholastic, not pastoral point of view.)

  6. Dawn; re: your 12:30pm. If you check the BCP ‘Baptism of Children and also ‘of Riper years’ you’ll find that just prior to the blessing of the Water is the prayer ‘It is very meet,right and our bounden duty…. (to the end) baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost — (Blessing of the water … ) in the unity of the Holy Spirit …Amen

    So in fact, liturgically, the Bishop is not really the Minister of the Holy Spirit; the child/person has already received the Holy Spirit at his Baptism. I suppose you could make the argument that the Priest/Deacon (or layman when and if necessary) is the ‘agent’ of the Bishop as one of the flock of the Apostolic successor.

  7. ooops!   of course the Bishop is ‘the Minister’ of the Holy Spirit in all things – but for Parish baptisms, he has delegated his powers; just as he has ‘given’   “Take thou authority…” to (function as a deacon/priest) and he can and in some cases has, withdrawn that authority.

    so my apologies to any and all bishops who may have taken offence. “mea Culpa”

  8. ooops!   of course the Bishop is ‘the Minister’ of the Holy Spirit in all things – but for Parish baptisms, he has delegated his powers; just as he has ‘given’   “Take thou authority…” to (function as a deacon/priest) and he can and in some cases has, withdrawn that authority.

    so my apologies to any and all bishops who may have taken offence. “mea Culpa”

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