The calendar and lectionary invite preachers to speak on the theme, Baptism of Christ, and the RCL gospel reading is drawn from Mark 1.
Here are my key points as I prepare my sermon, working with the background of the horrific carnage unfolding in Gaza and Israel:
- in baptism Jesus Christ affirms that he is God become one of us
- through baptism Jesus begins his ministry and mission among us
- through our baptism we become one with God
- at our baptism our ministry and mission begin
- the point and purpose of creation was communion between God and humanity, including communion between human beings; disobedience to God has broken that communion; Christ came to restore communion; the conflict in Gaza and Israel (and in Iraq etc) tells us that broken communion is not an abstract concept but involves pain, horror, and suffering; the ultimate establishment of peace on earth will require more than local solutions to local injustices and conflicts - it requires the restoration of communion between God and humanity - the restoration which comes through response to the gospel of Christ - there is thus just as much urgency about baptised Christians fulfilling our ministry and mission in 2009 as ever before.