Sermon, January 9, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon, January 9, 2021

1 Epiphany2021

With all who are in darkness and weariness
Stand among us in your risen power.
With all who are in doubt and despair
Stand among us in your risen power.
With all who are in trouble and fearfulness
Stand among us in your risen power.
With all who are frail and at the point of death
Stand among us in your risen power.

Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning” there was a formless chaos, this was God’s first step in the creation of ordered universe. Then God” breathed” upon the chaos, “God’s” breath (wind) brought order to the formless chaos. Then God’s Spirit brought light to the creation “Let there be light, and there was light, and God said that the light was good. God’s breath hovers and God’s word speaks light and matter into being. In the beginning, the Father, the Spirit, and Word cooperate to create the world in wisdom, and it was good.

Psalm 29

Psalm 29 proclaims the Lord’s glory; it is a song of praise. In the beginning God’s people are called to acknowledge God’s glory and strength. The voice of our Lord is an earthquake, and fire, but the Lord blesses, us, the people. The strength and peace that we are granted are amazing privileges, by worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness. We the church be come the sign of His beautiful and sanctifying presence to the world.

Acts 19: 1-7

John the Baptist sought seekers from many places where Jesus’s people lived. Ephesus was a city which Christian missionaries would find their way. When Paul arrived, he looked for people who manifested a desire for God. Paul found 12 men who claimed to have received baptism. Paul asked about what their baptism involved, and had they received the Holy Spirit? They had received John’s baptism and had learned that there would be more. They were ready to be received, and Paul conferred the Christian Baptism and laid hands upon them. The Holy Spirit makes a dramatic appearance when it “comes upon” the disciples and they can speak in tongues and prophesy.

On the First Sunday after the Epiphany, we always read of Jesus’ baptism by John. In the light-filled season of the church year, as we celebrate the revelation of God in Christ, we focus our attention on a nearly incomprehensible Event: God in heaven acknowledging God-in flesh (-H. King Oehmig)

Mark 1:4-11

This Sunday is the first Sunday after Epiphany, the Baptism of our Lord. This is one of several principal days the church designates for the celebration of baptism. We will renew the vows of our own baptism. 

The scene of Jesus’ baptism in the river of Jordan draws our attention back to the Holy Scripture, when God, his spirit and in His word were present upon the beginning of creation.  Jesus arises from the water, the heavens are “torn open” so we might see what lies beyond the veil. The Spirit descending like a dove upon him, and the voice of the Father stating his approval in His beloved Son. Baptism is fundamentally an act of stepping out with Crist for a life for others. Our baptisms immerse us in the affairs of our neighborhood, our nation, and the world.  

Our Father in heaven, who at Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River called him your Beloved Son and anointed him in the Spirit, give to all of us who are baptized in his name a ministry in the world, as we boldly profess his message and power. Amen