The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Jesus and John have known one another since they were children. Today we remember their encounter at the Jordan River, both of them now about 30 years old. Their parents have talked to one another about their boys since before they were born. John is the miracle son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who were old enough to be his great grandparents; and Jesus is the miracle son of Mary who “reportedly” conceived him through an angel, not with her husband, Joseph. John’s parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, are Jesus’ aunt and uncle.
Jesus and John bear both the blessing and the burden of their destinies. Their lives were prophesied to be great: John was predicted to be the Messiah’s “advance man,” the Messiah’s “forerunner,” to set the stage. Jesus was predicted to be the Messiah. How can this be?[i]
The stories about angels and the miraculous conceptions of these two cousins are undoubtedly the makings for small town gossip and, I imagine, eye-rolling derisive humor, and people’s incredulity. If Jesus and John were supposed to be these bionic boys, why did they appear so normal and unspectacular, disappointing even? What would it have been like for these two cousins to grow up in each other’s shadows, most likely to live in close proximity, never finding their voices for almost 30 years, which is approaching old age in their own day?[ii] Their lives had been shrouded with such mystery, and speculation, and derision about their identities and their destinies. Neither of them married. Neither of them was all-that-special, really, at least for men who were supposed to become so great. What did they know about each other? What did they think about each other? How did they talk to one another? We don’t know.
Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord: The First Sunday after the Epiphany
Isaiah 43: 1 – 7
Acts 8: 14 – 17
Luke 3: 15 – 17, 21 – 22
Grandmothers are some of the most important people in the world, at least in my world. I adored my two grandmothers, and I think it is safe to say that they adored me and my siblings. Both of my grandmothers were knitters. One of my grandmothers, whom we all called Grandma, kept us well supplied with mittens. I am proud to say that a red pair Grandma made for me while I was at university, complete with idiot string, became a fashion trend setter as over the winter more and more of my fellow students, seeing me with mine,began showing up on campus with homemade mittens and idiot strings. My other grandmother, whom we all called Nanny, made a series of Cowichan sweaters; a heavy, patterned, zippered sweater made popular by the Cowichans, a First Nations people of Vancouver Island. We wore these sweaters in the late fall and early spring before the winter coats came out or after they were put away. Nanny made several of these sweaters, and as we outgrew one, another larger one, would be passed down by an older sibling who had outgrown the next one up.