The Baptism of the Lord (Matthew 3:13-17)

* For an explanation of my weekly Bible blogging see the page on the right hand side.  This is the first of what I hope will be many “responses” to passages of the gospel.*

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

At the allotted point in the service I lead my small congregation and the baptismal family and their friends down to the Thames.  The great river swirls caramel brown around the bottom of my cassock as I step gingerly into the cold water.

“Would you pass me the child?”

“You what?  You’re gonna do her in that?”

“If it was good enough for Our Lord, then I think…”

“Come off it mate.  No wonder they say you lot are out of touch.  Honestly.”

I stand there, the feeble winter sun vainly warming my already frozen knees.  A pigeon takes off from the parapet above and adds to the filth in the already stinking river.