Today’s festival rejoices in God’s blessings. We recall and celebrate our adoption as God’s children, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the promised company of almighty God when we “pass through the waters . . . the rivers . . . fire.” On this day the heavens open again for this assembly, and we receive the gift of God’s Beloved, Jesus, in bread and wine.
Readings and Psalm
- Isaiah 43:1-7
When you pass through the waters, do not fear, for I am with you
- Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. (Ps. 29:3)
- Acts 8:14-17
Prayer and laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit
- Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
The baptism of Jesus with the descent of the Holy Spirit
The Voice of God
Are you longing to hear God’s voice? What would it be like to hear God call you by name? For many it seems that God spoke to people long ago and far away, but now in this time and place God’s voice is much less clear and less audible. Perhaps we cannot hear the voice of God because our world is full of noise? Perhaps we are not open to the particular frequency in which God chooses to call us? Perhaps we continually tune out this heavenly summons with our daily rush, not taking the time to quiet ourselves, our minds, our inner voices. We can use this time after Epiphany to clear out a corner of our lives for quiet prayer, meditation, or centering. Maybe then we will be able to hear . . . to sense . . . to listen.
Listen! God’s voice comes from heaven to call us by name, speak to the earth, shake the wilderness, and to anoint “the Beloved.” Listen! God’s people speak words of covenant, commitment, and community in the liturgy of baptism. Listen! God’s word surrounds this day with power and majesty and “in the temple of the Lord all are crying, ‘Glory!’” (Ps. 29:9). In this season of epiphanies, today’s miraculous encounter with the living God immerses us in the sound of God’s voice and bathes us in God’s baptismal promise. All who are splashed by this water gasp, cry, exclaim, sigh, and sing. Let all who have breath, praise the Lord!