Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sermon 12 January: Man on a Mission

Isaiah 42: 1-9
Matthew 3: 13-17

The next eight weeks are the weeks of the season of Epiphany; Epiphany, liturgically speaking is a season of anything between four and nine weeks depending on when Easter falls, so this year it is almost as long as it can be as Easter is not until the third week of April. Epiphany is all about discovery, understanding and the revealing of something new.
It is the season of Revelation

Last week, we considered the way God revealed who Jesus was to the wise men and we asked God to reveal something to each of us as we drew our Starwords, and hopefully each of those words will guide us as this New Year progresses.

Now we fast forward, from the infant child to the grown man.
Jesus coming into his own
Jesus beginning his ministry

From the gospel of Matthew we learn very little of this event; it is pared back; minimal in its description: Jesus approaches; John resists; Jesus persuades; John complies...
And then!
Then all heaven breaks out!
The Spirit of God descends
The voice of God is heard
The Son of God is revealed

The season of revelations gets off to a flying start!

Earlier we thought about baptism with the children; we remember that rich symbolism: the living water.

We remember that our baptism marks the moment when we are grafted into God’s family.
When Jesus was baptised, God’s voice is heard claiming His Son.
When we are baptised, we too become children of God; God claims us as God’s own:
We too are part of the family
Through his baptism Jesus is revealed as God’s Son; and I repeat: we too are part of God’s family; our own baptism; and indeed every time we witness a baptism, reveals that deep family connection.

In our tradition, wherever possible, baptism happens at public worship, with the church family gathered round; it is a family event.
The family gathers to witness; and promises to support and uphold the person being baptised, whether child or adult.
And it is important also that we include the whole being of God in that too: when Jesus was baptised both the Spirit and the Father were present affirming the Son; approving his mission; commending his work; endorsing his identity – this is the Son of God
Father, Son and Spirit are present
And thus we baptise in the name of Father, Son and Spirit

John the Baptist had a very specific mission – his task as messenger was to prepare the way
Jesus too was a man on a mission; his mission is just beginning, and now, authorised by God, upheld by the Spirit, that mission takes off
Isaiah’s vision of the Servant can so easily be laid on Jesus – this servant, filled by the Spirit, called by God, sent to open up new paths, new ways, sent to reveal God to the poor and the marginalised of the world.
Sent to deliver a new promise; establish a new relationship...

The mission reveals itself step-by-step
And we will follow this mission, this series of revelations, over the next few weeks, trusting that God will reveal new things to us along the way
Trusting God will reveal to each of us a new mission, a new chapter, a new start...
Knowing as we do, that God looks at each of us and sees a beloved child who is loved and cherished and valued
If we can hold that thought, and remember that promise as we go into the unknown of the future then I think we will be ready for pretty much anything!!
You, and you, and you...
Each and everyone is a beloved, chosen child of God


  1. I like it! The sense of anticipation is lovely.

  2. I love this and know that my church family needs to hear something very much along these lines, perhaps with the reminder of God reclaiming us time and time again as beloved children even when we don't feel we could be beloved of anyone! Thanks!!