I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. - Luke 3:16
The first Sunday of Epiphany is often called the Baptism of Christ Sunday, and this year, the lectionary brings us back to the words of John the Baptist, including his winnowing fork metaphor and the flames of unquenchable fire. So if you didn’t get enough John in Advent, here’s your chance to soak up a little bit more!
But John admits that even with all his fiery talk, the baptisms he offers with water, which are quite like ours in church, are meek and mild in comparison to the baptism that Jesus himself offers. The Messiah, John says, will baptize “with Spirit and with fire.” Instead of a simple dunk or sprinkle with water, Christ washes over us and fills us with the mysterious Holy Spirit, transforming our very lives and leading us into the flames of faith. Have you heard the phrase, baptism by fire? Sometimes the life of faith has its challenges…
So let’s stick together this Sunday as we navigate this sometimes rocky road of faith. Let’s come together to celebrate Daniel Scalia, as he become the newest member of the body of Christ here in Keene, and to celebrate the new life we are offered through our baptisms.