Project Description

Baptism of Our LordIsaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 / Acts 10:34-38 / Luke3:15-16; 21-22
It can be a strange world can’t it?!?!?!

I read a news report about a wedding that
took place in Japan this past November.

The groom was a 35-year-old man—
he works at a middle school in Japan.

And the bride?

Now listen to this—
His bride is computer derived hologram.

And the computer program that runs the hologram
is primarily software that stores music.

So, the hologram takes the form of
a teenage singing performer—
she’s essentially “a singing voice synthesizer
featuring over 100,000 songs.”

I guess the guy like to be sung to.

The new groom wears a wedding ring—
and he has a doll that looks like the hologram—
he keeps the doll in his house—
and it’s the doll who wears
the hologram’s wedding ring.

The groom requested a
marriage registration form
from the company “Gatebox”—
a technology company that
offers documents for those
who wanted to marry
computer-generated personas.

There were nearly 40 people at the wedding ceremony—
where this man married a computer program.

The groom’s parents decided not to come.

Well, isn’t going to be a problem—
You just don’t start the computer one day.

Just don’t push the power button—
and she’s gone.

Since the ceremony,
the groom said that many
people have reached out to him—
saying they were encouraged
by what he had done—
it provided them hope.

Surely—surely—we can place our hopes and our dreams. . .

Surely, we can experience a happiness and
meaning in life that goes
deeper than being in a relationship
with a computer program

God bless that young man—
God bless him.

It can be a strange world can’t it?!?!?!

Which brings us to this
great feast of today—
the Baptism of Jesus.

The celebration of the
Baptism of Jesus is not just a liturgical filler.

It’s an important feast—
an important feast.

We know the story. . .

Jesus is around thirty years old—
and after all of those years—
all those years of preparation. . .

Preparation living with the Holy Family—
Preparation from God the Father—
The time for His mission has come.

And the first thing He does—
The first thing He does is
He goes down to the river. . .

He goes down to the river to be baptized by John—
He goes down to the river to be with whom—
with sinners.

It’s the first public act of His mission.

So the baptism is His topic sentence—
It’s His theme—
It’s His calling card—
It’s His motif.

The Baptism of Jesus screams to us. . .
“I am with you”—
“I am united with you.”

Where ever you go—
I am with you.

Even in the dark and dirty water of sin of death—
I am with you.

There is no situation that we can be in—
happy or sad—
good or bad—
easy or hard—
where Jesus—
where the Messiah—
where the Savior is not there with us.

Wherever we go—He is with us:
To celebrate with us—
to laugh with us—
to lead us—

to counsel us—
to teach us—

to warn us—
to forgive us—
to save us. . .

or just to be with us.
Jesus is wedded to us sinners!!!

Wherever we go—
He is with us!!

I don’t know if you ever read one of
Pope Benedict’s more academic works—
Jesus of Nazareth.

If you have,
you may remember that
the former pope comments on a
book called A Rabbi Talks with Jesus.

It’s was written by a contemporary
American Jewish scholar—
Rabbi Jacob Neusner.

And in this book,
the Rabbi Neusner imagines himself as
part of the crowd following Jesus in the Gospel stories.

The Rabbi hears the Sermon on the Mount—
and all of Jesus’ other of Jesus’ teachings—
he follows Jesus to Jerusalem.

And after following Jesus around—
the rabbi realizes that as much
fascination and respect that he has for Jesus—
he can’t be a disciple of Jesus.

Why?

Well, the rabbi’s reason basically comes down to one.

After following Jesus around and hearing him,
the rabbi imagines going and talking
with a mentor rabbi, who asks:
“What did [Jesus] leave out of the Torah?”

“Nothing.” answered the rabbi.

“Then what did he add?”

“Himself,” the rabbi answered.
He offered Himself.

That is the correct answer isn’t it!!

We Christians would agree.

Jesus offers Himself.

So where ever we go—
He—Jesus is with us:

There is no situation that we are in—
calm or anxious—
health or sickness—
in a crowd or alone—
where Jesus—
where the Messiah—
where the Savior is not with us.

He has forever fused Himself to us.

What does Jesus add?

Himself.

As we wrap up,
I want to read part of prayer written by
a Russian soldier during World War II.

His name is Alexandr Zapeca—
His prayer wasn’t published until the 1970’s.

Alexandr wrote this prayer right before
He was to enter a fierce a battle with the Nazis—
it’s a battle where he would die.

Here’s part of it:

Listen Lord!
Not once in my life have I spoken with you,
But today I feel like celebrating you.

You know, since I was a child
they always told me that you didn’t exist.
And foolish me, I believed them.
I have never contemplated your works,
but tonight, from the crater of a grenade,
I looked at the sky full of stars above me. . . .

Is it not strange that that in the midst of a fearful hell
a light appeared to me
And I saw you? . . .

Aside from this, I have nothing to say to you.
I am happy simply because I have known you.
We must attack at midnight.

There’s the signal—
So I must go.
How good to have been with you. . . .

Perhaps even tonight I will be knocking at your door.

And even if I have not been your friend until now,
when I come, will you let me in?

Help Lord, I’m going. . . .
I will probably not return.
How strange, now I am not afraid of death.

The first public act of Jesus’ mission is
to united Himself to us sinners.

The Baptism of Jesus is his core—
His focus.

In it, Jesus says, wherever we go—He is with us:

To celebrate—
to laugh—
to lead—

to counsel—
to teach—

to warn us—
to forgive us—
to save us . . .

or just to be with us.
Whether we’re having a good time with family and friends . . .

Or whether we’re crouched down and
scared in one of life’s bunkers. . .

Or whether we have a huge hole in our heart
that needs to be filled with love—
feeling alone and searching for intimacy and meaning. . .

Jesus’ baptism promises us that He is there—
Connected to us.

“What did [Jesus] leave out of the Torah?”

“Nothing.” answered the rabbi.

“Then what did he add?”

“Himself,” the rabbi answered.

He added Himself.

This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.

Holy Spirit 1/12-13/2019