Pastor’s Corner – January 7, 2024

Baptism of Jesus Sunday

Friday night, we will gather to celebrate Epiphany, Christ the light of the world. However, I can’t help but think of all the wars that are happening globally now as we begin a new year. Increasingly the world is getting more violent. Gaza, Yemen, Congos, Syria, Mexico and Columbia (drug wars) Pakistan, Myanmar, Ukraine and others. Studies show that we have seen the highest death toll last year in the 21st Century, financially costing Global GDP loss of 17.5 trillion, 13.7%. You can google the numbers and human cost. It’s staggering when you do a little research. There is no peace on earth. Increasingly more countries are involved in ways we could not have imagined a century ago because of globalization, everyone is involved in some ways. The systems we created in our world do not allow innocence, other than the victims and the powerless. And no one wins war. Seriously, show me a nation or a group of tribes that won the war? What happens when the violence ceases and people return to their lives to make a living, to send kids to school and place food on the table? 

One day the bombing in Gaza will stop. The walls that surrounded that small strip of land will disappear. What happened to those who died? Do they just disappear under the ashes of slaughter? The ghosts of the dead will haunt the land and people. Those who survived will carry with them the traumas. The loss of humanity doesn’t just disappear whether you are oppressed or oppressor. We know this from history. We know this from stories that are not far from our own and generations before us. No one is untouched. Again, people are displaced. the layers of unresolved suffering will fester and be remembered. Now what? We don’t need to go far. We just need to look at our own history and how we built our empire and our nation. 

We begin our liturgical year with the baptism of our Lord. We gather around the baptismal font to remember our own baptism. As we begin our new year, how do we respond to our world as followers of Jesus? What does it mean to follow the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World? Our loyalty and commitment is not to a nation but to follow the way, the truth and the life of Jesus. More than ever, as we witness the absurdity of war and human suffering that affects us all, what voice do we need to hear that appeals to our humanity and what it means to be a human family not just for one group at the expense of others but truly see our world in the light of all people and begin to heal and seek justice for all? Is it possible to hold our planet earth in our hands from all places around the world and finally see the truth of who we are in the vast universe, a galaxy traveling through endless space that as human species we are all part of each other, living in one planet, that our lives are inseparable from each other?

Our faith journey that begins with baptism places our lives squarely in the face of human suffering as a path to wholeness, healing, reconciliation, happiness and peace. Come let us worship God and show up at this important moment in our life together, to listen and hear the voice from above in baptism that’s more powerful than any weapons of mass destruction. Amen.