Friday of the Baptism of our Lord – Luke 3:15-22

15As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

 18So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 19But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 20added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

 21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

He had grown up in the community of my first parish. He had been LDS and was related to a fair number of people in town. But he had married a Lutheran girl and their marriage had lasted until he finally said “Yes” to this Lutheran thing, went through adult instruction, and was baptized. Not everyone knew that had happened, I suppose, which might have made what I saw possible. We had started a food bank with some of the other churches in town. It was a small thing. Our modest congregations could not have supported a large distribution of food. But this man knew people and, equally important, they knew him.

He headed off to the grocery stores and started talking to folks. Pretty soon food, lots of food started showing up at the UCC church where the food distribution was happening. Then the word got to the mail carriers, and they were looking for a project. They ran off fliers and shared them with all the folks on their routes. Next Saturday they would collect non-perishable food for the food bank.

That Saturday the postal employees dropped off enough to fill the unused UCC gymnasium several feet deep in food. Suddenly our little foodbank was feeding a lot of hungry folks. I really think this happened because this former LDS guy worked his relationships across the community. I know that if I had shown up to ask for it, it would never have had that sort of a response. I remember looking at that flier which my postman had hung on my door that day and marveling. God the Holy Spirit had strangely blessed this project, multiplying loaves and fishes once more. He even recruited the LDS to help. This text says Jesus has the Holy Spirit. It descended on Him as a dove. That means a great many things for what we say about Jesus. But one of the things He does is share that Spirit with us in Baptism, the same Baptism this older fellow in my parish experienced at the hands of my predecessor. He got the Spirit that day. I count myself blessed to have had a chance to see that Spirit at work.

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