Fr. Dave’s Homily – The Baptism of our Lord

The Baptism of Our Lord…Series C

Saint Andrew’s EC (January 12&13- 2019)

 

Text: Luke 3: 15-17; 21-22.

Title:The Man in the Water!

 

On January 13th, 1982, Air Florida Flight #90 took off from Washington National Airport in a blinding snowstorm. Shortly after takeoff the aircraft clipped the 14thStreet bridge and plunged into the icy Potomac River.  An essay which appeared in Timemagazine twelve days after the crash described an unnamed passenger…a balding man in his 50’s with an extravagant mustache, who clung to the tail section of the plane and, every time the police helicopter lowered a lifeline and flotation ring to him, he passed it to another passenger waiting to be rescued.  When the copter came back a final time the bald man with the mustache was gone.  The author of the article called him, The Man In the Water (he was later identified as Arland D.Williams-a 46 year old investment banker from Atlanta, GA….in 1983 the 14thSt. Bridge would be renamed the ARLAND D. WILLIAMS MEMORIAL BRIDGE).  I am sure that Williams, like every other passenger on that ill-fated flight, wanted to live…he was desperate to survive, which makes his final heroic act even more incomprehensible.  At some moment in the freezing water Arland Williams must have known that if he continued to hand the lifeline to others, that he would not survive …But that is exactly what he did!! The Man in the Water…

(pause)

Friends, the central truth of the Gospel…the Good News as I have come to know and understand and experience it is that Jesus of Nazareth…the Son of God…the Messiah…the Christ is the Man in the Water, passing the lifeline of salvation to everyone desperate to live.  Jesus…the one who walked on water and calmed the raging seas …Jesus is the Man in the Water…and the great rescue mission inaugurated in the murky waters of the Jordan River more than 2000 years ago continues in our own day.

 

And here is the great Good News that we celebrate on this Feast of the Baptism of our Lord: everything…ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHINGthat happened to Jesus in His baptism, happened to you in your Baptism…that is correct…in the waters of your Baptism, the Gates of heaven swung open wide…you were JUSTIFIED…declared “NOT GUILTY”…in the waters of your Baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon you…just as the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, and God the Holy Spirit took up permanent residence in your life and you were SANCTIFIED…made into a Saint by God’s amazing grace…in the visible Word of Baptism, God spoke to you (just as God spoke to Jesus in His Baptism) and God said to you exactly what he said to Jesus…”You are my child…my BELOVED, and I am deeply and profoundly pleased with you”!!.

The Baptism of Our Lord…Series C

Saint Andrew’s EC (January 12&13- 2019)

 

Text: Luke 3: 15-17; 21-22.

Title: The Man in the Water!

 

On January 13th, 1982, Air Florida Flight #90 took off from Washington National Airport in a blinding snowstorm. Shortly after takeoff the aircraft clipped the 14thStreet bridge and plunged into the icy Potomac River.  An essay which appeared in Timemagazine twelve days after the crash described an unnamed passenger…a balding man in his 50’s with an extravagant mustache, who clung to the tail section of the plane and, every time the police helicopter lowered a lifeline and flotation ring to him, he passed it to another passenger waiting to be rescued.  When the copter came back a final time the bald man with the mustache was gone.  The author of the article called him, The Man In the Water (he was later identified as Arland D.Williams-a 46 year old investment banker from Atlanta, GA….in 1983 the 14thSt. Bridge would be renamed the ARLAND D. WILLIAMS MEMORIAL BRIDGE).  I am sure that Williams, like every other passenger on that ill-fated flight, wanted to live…he was desperate to survive, which makes his final heroic act even more incomprehensible.  At some moment in the freezing water Arland Williams must have known that if he continued to hand the lifeline to others, that he would not survive …But that is exactly what he did!! The Man in the Water…

(pause)

Friends, the central truth of the Gospel…the Good News as I have come to know and understand and experience it is that Jesus of Nazareth…the Son of God…the Messiah…the Christ is the Man in the Water, passing the lifeline of salvation to everyone desperate to live.  Jesus…the one who walked on water and calmed the raging seas …Jesus is the Man in the Water…and the great rescue mission inaugurated in the murky waters of the Jordan River more than 2000 years ago continues in our own day.

 

And here is the great Good News that we celebrate on this Feast of the Baptism of our Lord: everything…ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHINGthat happened to Jesus in His baptism, happened to you in your Baptism…that is correct…in the waters of your Baptism, the Gates of heaven swung open wide…you were JUSTIFIED…declared “NOT GUILTY”…in the waters of your Baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon you…just as the Spirit descended upon Jesus at his baptism, and God the Holy Spirit took up permanent residence in your life and you were SANCTIFIED…made into a Saint by God’s amazing grace…in the visible Word of Baptism, God spoke to you (just as God spoke to Jesus in His Baptism) and God said to you exactly what he said to Jesus…”You are my child…my BELOVED, and I am deeply and profoundly pleased with you”!!.

My friends, here is the truth…the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH…in the waters of your Baptism YOU were adopted; blessed; called; delivered; embraced; forgiven; graced; healed; initiated; justified; pardoned; redeemed, rescued, sanctified and saved…

  • BAPTISM…it is impossible to overestimate the significance of the Sacrament…the implications in terms of your life and your faith are ENORMOUS!
  • BAPTISM…it is the VISIBLE WORD of God’s amazing Grace and relentless love reaching out to you…touching your heart and transforming your life…for Good and Forever!
  • BAPTISM…what a blessing…what a profound mystery…what an EPIPHANY!!

Amen…

 

 

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