The Teaching of John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus

Today we remember the baptism of Jesus but in case we are tempted to think of baby Jesus being brought to the font in the Temple (!), our reading fast-forwards 30 years to where we were at Advent 3 – the mission of John the Baptist, and the start of the ministry of Jesus.

Jesus is baptised as an adult, as one who reveals himself in continuity with the preaching of John and in solidarity with us.

Our baptism is for the forgiveness of sins, the getting right with God, and (most of us) were brought as infants because this was the desire of our parents that we be brought up in the Christian faith,and the promises of God were claimed on our behalf.

Some may have been baptised as adults, a decision you took yourselves but even then, you did not baptise yourself, but sought baptism. Baptism is “done” to us, not something we do to ourselves. It is a gift, an invitation which we receive, as well as a decision that is made, whether by our parents (and which we affirm at confirmation) or by ourselves directly.

God calls us to be his family, his children; baptism is the sign of adoption. FIrst and foremost we are Christians, but in a world which is not right we are also called to do, to act, to sign up for God’s team, as it were, and baptism is our act of signing on.

If our actions and our living do not show the fruit of being God’s children, then there is a tension, an issue.

What does it mean for us to be signed up in today’s context; the world has changed since our parents signed us on.

As a PCC we adopted this Mission Statement at the last meeting. Is this something you feel you can sign up to? Yes it is a bit general – but each of us has a part to play in making it a reality. Is this for you? Is this for us?

St Anne’s with St James, Turton

#  We aspire to be a worshipping, growing and transforming Christian presence at the heart of our community

#  With our partners we are committed to the flourishing of our Christian churches and our communities

#  We seek to share the love of God with all, excluding no-one, responding to need and celebrating what is good

#  Our core values which shape all our actions and activity are grace, mercy and peace

Rev’d Peter Reiss