Leading others to listen with their bodies by using the tools
of spiritual direction and yoga has given me the opportunity
to work with individuals of various religious backgrounds, ages,
shapes, and sizes. Each of our stories and our bodies offers varying
degrees of flexibility. One factor that causes persons to hesitate
when exploring the body/spirit relationship comes in their
perception of their physical ability. Fortunately, a life with Christ
has nothing to do with our physical abilities or lack thereof.

In today’s reading, Peter speaks to the Gentiles, proclaiming
the good news of Jesus Christ to Cornelius, his family, and
friends. Peter, an unlikely messenger, delivers a message that
Cornelius and his household fully embrace. Peter tells them of
Jesus’ baptism by John and Jesus’ ministry of healing in Judea
and Jerusalem. Though put to death, Jesus is raised to life on
the third day. Peter preaches the amazing testimony that everyone
who believes in Christ receives forgiveness. God’s accessibility
hinges on accepting the miracle of transformed lives—not
on faith background, social status, geographical location, gender,
ethnicity—and especially not on an ability to touch our toes.
Peter proclaimed the miracle of a life in Christ to the Gentiles;
we hear that miracle proclaimed today.

Later verses in this passage allow us to witness the descent
of the Spirit on Cornelius and conclude with a water baptism.
As we look toward the celebration of our Lord’s baptism, we
affirm that Jesus’ baptism leads us to the miracle of a life in
Christ. Do you believe Peter’s message for your life today?
Christ is for you. In what ways is he your “Lord of all”?

Lord of all, thank you for the baptism and resurrection of Jesus, which allows me to live a life focusing on your promises rather than on my own abilities. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 3:13-17

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Lectionary Week
January 2–8, 2017
Scripture Overview

Many will read the Isaiah text and identify the servant with Jesus, the one God enables to do the work of justice and transformation. The psalm announces the glory of God, a king powerful over the turbulence of nature and whose voice is a transcendent revelation. Matthew’s story of Jesus’ baptism joins the themes of servant and king. The baptism inaugurates Jesus’ ministry in which he proclaims God’s righteousness. Peter’s speech in Acts reminds us that Jesus’ baptism carries with it the promise of baptism in the Spirit.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. In this new year, what promises of God do you want to breathe in?
• Read Psalm 29. When the storms of life rage, how do you listen for God’s promptings?
• Read Acts 10:34-43. To whom do you need to proclaim the promises of Jesus Christ?
• Read Matthew 3:13-17. How does your understanding of your own baptism encourage you to live as an obedient child of God?

Respond by posting a prayer.