Baptism of our Lord C: Expecting the Messiah

Dear Partner in Preaching, The first line of this week’s reading really grabbed my attention: “As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John….” What I find fascinating is not actually how John responding to all this attention; rather, I’m intrigued by the wondering and perhaps murmuring and even hoping among the people about whether John might be the promised Messiah in the first place. And that got me to thinking: “Are our people still expecting a Messiah?” Or, perhaps more accurately, “Who are our people looking to with...

Baptism of Our Lord B: Baptism & Blessing

Dear Partner in Preaching, I want to start with a question: how often do you think about your baptism? Perhaps your family reminded you of its importance by celebrating the anniversary of your baptism each year and so baptism has always been important to you. Or maybe you learned to appreciate it later, at confirmation or sometime as an adult. Or maybe your appreciation of baptism was deepened during your study at seminary and now you think of it every time you wash. Or maybe you know the theological significance of baptism but, truth be told, don’t think of it all that often. (Don’t worry, I’m not judging, just asking.) Now I want you...

Matthew 3:16-17

And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” I think it’s...

What I am Learning About Baptism Jan18

What I am Learning About Baptism

It’s taken me a little over a week to read through and digest (or at least begin to digest) all the comments and fabulous conversation about baptism. Which is why I title this post, “What I am learning about baptism,” rather than “learned” or even “believe,” let alone “know for sure.” What you all have shared keeps teaching me about baptism and for that I am grateful. So, several things: 1) We don’t talk about Baptism enough! Goodness gracious, but there were enough marvelous questions, great insights, strong opinions, and wonderfully open invitations to dialogue that we could fill who knows how many Sunday mornings with...

Vulnerable God, Vulnerable Church Jan15

Vulnerable God, Vulnerable Church

Vulnerability is a big theme with me – in life, in relationships, in theology. It’s one of the reasons I’m such a big fan of Brené Brown. In her TED Talks on vulnerability and shame, and in books like Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection, she writes candidly and movingly about the importance of being vulnerable and the challenges to doing so. It’s a key theological category for me because I think it’s what we see so vividly in the person and ministry of Jesus. Not only there, of course, as the God who commits to creation, gives over free will, offers laws and guidance, pleads for people to treat each other well, gets angry...