In today’s passage, Paul is teaching in Ephesus, where he asks his students their understanding of what has happened at their baptisms and if they have yet received the Holy Spirit. When they reply, “No,” Paul offers a pastoral tone. He doesn’t berate, argue, or criticize; he merely teaches. We are invited to do the same.

Over and over this week, we have encountered God’s presence in water: Creation, storms, and now baptism. But how is God present in baptismal waters—and ultimately—in us? What do our Christian denominations teach us about receiving the Holy Spirit at our baptisms?

Baptism is a sacrament—mysteria—a mystical experience that accounts for God’s action (presence) in our lives. How does this manifest in your tradition and teaching? How might we all lean into Paul’s urging, seeking to understand the ways in which the Triune God indwells us through this mysteria. In turn, how might revisiting our baptism unfurl into a New Year and Epiphany resolution of recalibration, re-centering ourselves spiritually?

God, help us to remember our baptisms. Urge us to consider what this sacred mystery teaches us and what it means for our communities. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 1:4-11

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Lectionary Week
January 4–10, 2021
Scripture Overview

This week’s readings use both water and wind (Spirit) in a variety of ways. Water and wind are present in the Genesis story of God's bringing order out of chaos. Both the epistle and Gospel bring images of water in baptism and with the Spirit present. The psalmist invokes the voice of God thundering over waves and causing trees to shake. In the account of Jesus’ baptism, that same voice breaks through to proclaim that Jesus is God’s Son, the Beloved. Also, in the middle of this week, we celebrate Epiphany with Isaiah's inspiring vision of dawn breaking and the invitation to arise and shine because Light has come to us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Genesis 1:1-5. Where have you seen God bringing order out of chaos in your life? What are the situations in your life or in our world that seem formless or chaotic now? Can you see God working to bring order in those situations?
Read Psalm 29. How do you respond to the powerful images of God’s action reflected in this psalm?
Read Acts 19:1-7. How would you answer Paul’s question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became [a believer]?” How do you see the Spirit active in your life?
Read Mark 1:4-11. Can you hear God saying to you, “You are my child, the beloved; with you I am well pleased”? How does it feel to imagine God saying those words to you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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