Isaiah 43:1-7 and Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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Baptism of Christ: the 1st Sunday after Epiphany

Having concluded the Advent - Christmas - Epiphany festival cycle, we begin to walk again through the first of two "ordinary time" portions of the Christian year. The stretch of ordinary time that follows Epiphany, though, does bring us to two special festivals that celebrate different ways that Jesus' identity was revealed into humanity's midst -- "revealing," of course, being one of the themes of Epiphany that continues to echo through these weeks even though they are ordinary time.

In the first of these festivals, which we mark this weekend, we gather again with John the Baptist at the banks of that ol' River Jordan, and we watch as Jesus himself comes and submits to John's baptism. And in the mystery and majesty of that moment, heavens are opened, the Spirit decends, and a voice reveals God's declaration of just who Jesus is: "my Son," "the beloved," the one with whom God is "well pleased."