Baptism of the Lord: The Old Testament Passage

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-15)

The bible starts out the story of God, humanity and nature at the very beginning – before anything else, there was God. And God always was. Now, if that boggles you mind slightly, you are not alone. But the theme for this week’s scripture passages from the RCL is not creation or nature, but the baptism of Jesus. We have already read the account of Jesus’ baptism and an account of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Why then would we be set down at the story of creation? (By the way, I am not about to enter into a conversation about creation versus evolution; I had briefly considered it, but decided I wanted to avoid that whole larger conversation.)

There are some parallel components in both the creation story and the baptism of Jesus; water (present from even before the beginning, and the river Jordan), the Spirit of God (across the “face of the waters” and in the form of a dove), the coming of light (brought by God and by Jesus), and a division of darkness & light (again, by God and by Jesus Christ’s life example). So there is rationale for this passage.

In addition, the baptism of Jesus denotes the beginning steps of God’s final plan to bring about a reconciliation between the Divine and humanity. And if that is so (which it is beloved reader), then creation of the world where humanity will live might be seen as the very first step. Be aware, beloved reader, my suggestion concerning the connection between the first step of Jesus’ ministry and the first step in creation is just that – my own suggestion.

Even with the idea of the connection between the creating of our world and Jesus’ baptism, there is a puzzlement of continuity of theme. Sometimes the common thread between the passages set for each week can only be seen when all the passages are considered together. It may well be that the last scripture passage for this week might be what ties it all together. And we will take them up tomorrow. Until then, selah!

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