James Earl Jones’s voice is one of the greatest I have ever heard. He has a voice you can listen to all day long. I often think it would be great to have his voice. Of course, we all do the same thing listening to a singer or sports broadcaster....
Merciful God, thank you for reminding us that you are closer than we imagine. Amen.
As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, the readings draw our attention to the connection between baptism and the pouring out of the Spirit. The prophet points forward to the day when God’s servant will come, empowered by the Spirit, and bring justice to all people, both Jew and Gentile. In the psalm, the same heavenly voice that will speak over Jesus at his baptism resounds on the earth with might and power. Peter realizes in Acts that he is witnessing the fulfillment of the promise in Isaiah, for through Jesus, God’s favor is poured out on people from every nation. Matthew tells the story of Jesus’ baptism and of the arrival of the Spirit, confirmed by the heavenly voice of affirmation.
Read Isaiah 42:1-9. What does it mean for Jesus to be a Servant Messiah? In what ways does God suffer with or for you?
Read Psalm 29. Consider the power of a thunderstorm and the danger of the ocean. What does it mean to hear thunder as God's voice? Why is baptism in water?
Read Acts 10:34-43. Consider the author’s proposal that those who fear God and do what is right may include people of other faiths. What would this mean for your faith and your relationships with those of other faiths?
Read Matthew 3:13-17. Remember your baptism. Did you make the decision to be baptized or did someone else make the decision for you? How does remembering your baptism guide you to do what God wants?
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