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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Matthew 3:13–17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 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.” (NRSV)

“Just add water.” It’s the most basic of directions. You open an envelope containing a packet of dust, you just add water, and Boom! You’ve got a tasty soup. Open a can of pasty goo, just add water and hey, more soup!

And how do you get those vegetables for your soup in the first place? By planting some seeds in the dirt and adding water. How do you get the stock? By taking a bunch of leftovers, bones and stuff, and boiling them in water. Basically, you take the garbage, add water, and the garbage is changed into more food. It’s amazing, really.

So you take that stuff you made from the garbage, and you add the stuff you grew from the ground, and you add more water. And over time that water will change everything in the pot. Eventually it’s not just potatoes and carrots and onions and peas and beans, it’s not just salt and pepper. While everything in the soup still tastes like itself, the water dissolves it a bit, breaks it down, and combines everything so that eventually the stuff in the pot becomes one thing. It becomes soup.

This passage is about Jesus’ baptism, but it’s important to remember that John was baptizing people before Jesus. Jesus’ swim in the Jordan wasn’t the invention of baptism. Jesus came to participate in the ritual that already existed, a ritual where we are transformed, where we have something in us dissolved and mixed with others so that we can become part of one great thing, a thing greater than ourselves, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It’s where he came to be with us, not just among us, not just near us, but with us—one of us.

The Son of God became one of us through water. Water changes everything.

Lord, in the great melting pot, we all need to melt. Break us down, Lord, so that we can become one people. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts

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