Sharp About Your Prayers

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Baptism of the Lord

January 7th, 2010 · No Comments · Faith and the City

This Sunday is Baptism of the Lord Sunday.  It is not your most well-known Sunday, but it’s a good one.  It is the Sunday when we transport ourselves to the Jordan River and plunk ourselves down on its banks to watch Jesus get baptized by his fiery-tongued cousin, John.

It’s a dramatic moment when Jesus goes down by the river to pray.

Although, I do admit, Jesus’ baptism represents a pretty big jump in the Christian story.  Right?  Last Sunday, Jesus was an infant receiving gifts from the Magi.  He was a child being whisked off to Egypt to escape nasty King Herod.  Suddenly, seven days later, he walks back on stage as a fully-grown man, in his late twenties, a preacher who is ready to start his ministry.  What happened?  How did he get from there to here?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are largely silent on this huge swath of Jesus’ life.  It makes you wonder…  What happened in the intervening years?  Was Jesus a perfect child?  Did he get into trouble?  Did he have a best friend?  Was he the teacher’s pet—a “momma’s boy”?  Did he really learn how pound nails at Joseph’s carpentry bench?  Could he toss a curve ball?  Was he ever angry enough to throw a punch?  Did he go out on any dates?

We don’t know.  Although, since Christian theologians assert that he was “fully human” (as well as “fully divine”); it leaves us with tons of possibilities over which we can speculate.  What was the young Jesus like?

Whatever you imagine happened, it is clear that this gap in our Lord’s story makes the moment of his baptism all the more significant.  After all, this is his first act since being hidden from the clicking cameras of the paparazzi for three decades.  This is his coming-out party.  This is his ordination.  This is the start of a three-year journey that will change the world.

And, as with any momentous journey, the first steps are important.  Something big is about to happen when Jesus wades into the water.

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