Epiphany 1 January 10th 2010 Luke 3:21-22
New Year used to be in March! Coinciding with Spring. Many people view the New Year as a chance to begin again and make new year resolutions. I will swear less, eat my greens, become an opera singer this year. Beginnings are important in our lives and we often celebrate them-birth with a blessing or christening, maturity with confirmation or barmitzvah, marriage, and so on. I think maybe we don’t make enough of these events. People like Rudolf Steiner realised that even cutting a new tooth was a very important event for a child.
And so it is in our spiritual journey. At the beginning of any major faith beginning there is a ritual of renunciation, a turning away and of purification and commitment to a new way of being. For the Jews this involved a purification in water, one of the lakes or rivers. Hindus do the same in the Ganges.
Even Jesus was baptized and identified himself with the people he came to save. Jesus' baptism, was followed by the temptation and a call to the wilderness.
In Jewish and Christian understanding the Spirit usually comes upon a person to set them apart to lead different lives from the norm more in tune with God and the Spirit of God is often symbolised by a dove, also a symbol for us of peace.
So the Spirit comes to Jesus, the representative Israel, sets him apart, equips him for service, to proclaim good news to the lost, to heal the broken hearted and announce freedom to the captives, Isa.61:1..
"Thou art my son, today I have begotten thee." Isaiah 42:1 comes from the ordination liturgy of the Servant of the Lord, the Servant whose journey is one of suffering.
So as we begin our Christian journeys we are baptised as babies or as adults (Ive done both!) And as we start this New Year we commit ourselves to Gods path and Gods resolutions even though its an up hill slog (especially in snow!) because we are on a soul journey.