“Remember Your Baptism, and Be Thankful”

Dear Fremont Family:

This Sunday, January 8, is “Baptism of the Lord” Sunday. It commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in his baptism by John in the River Jordan. The occasion marks the starting point for Jesus, and it seems fitting that every year we participate in this day at the beginning of a new year in our ministry.

Good beginnings make all the difference in the world. Jesus begins his ministry by joining the crowd that has gone out to see John in the wilderness. As people pass through the waters being baptized as a sign of repentance for their sins, they are declaring their desire to start fresh, begin again, be washed, be renewed. Repentance, which translates from the Greek word metanoia, is more like transformation, like metamorphosis. It is not like feeling bad about doing something wrong. Rather, repentance is the kind of change that involves a change of heart, a change of mind, a change in direction. John recognizes that Jesus has no need yet of this kind of life change, he is only just beginning. But, Jesus joins the others and submits to John’s baptism anyway.

What might that mean for us at Fremont at the start of 2023? How is the invitation to come to the waters of baptism an invitation to be transformed? What changes of heart, mind and direction do we need for renewal in our midst?

Jesus offers us a chance to begin where he begins. In the wilderness (out of our comfort zone) With humility (recognizing our needs, limitations). Amidst the people (connecting to others searching for renewal). Trusting in God’s grace and submitting to the waters (God will guide us if we follow faithfully). Every new year, Jesus’s baptism is a great place to begin.

This year, amidst your resolutions and your plans for another new year, be sure to also take a moment this Sunday to touch the water, hear Gods’ claim on your life once more, beloved child, and be thankful for another opportunity to grow together in grace.

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,