January 12, 2020
The Baptism of Our Lord
In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as the beloved Son of God. Through this great epiphany, Jesus fulfills all righteousness and is acknowledged as the one Who will bring justice and be a light to the nations. The Baptism of Our Lord cannot help but recall our own baptisms. We, too, are washed in the Word, anointed by the Spirit, and named God’s beloved children. With Christ we are chosen to proclaim God’s mercy in a suffering world. With Christ we are made public witnesses to God’s justice. With Christ we are called to do good and relieve the suffering of the oppressed.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
O God our Father, at the baptism of Jesus You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful to their calling to be Your sons and daughters, and empower us all with Your Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Festivals and Commemorations this week
The faithful are remembered on the day of their death, the day they are born anew in heaven. The "c" indicates an approximate date.
January 15 Martin Luther King Jr., renewer of society, martyr, died 1968
Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an American prophet of justice among races and nations, a Christian whose faith undergirded his advocacy of vigorous yet nonviolent action for racial equality. A pastor of churches in Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, his witness was taken to the streets in such other places as Birmingham, Alabama, where he was arrested and jailed while protesting against segregation. He preached nonviolence and demanded that love be returned for hate. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he was killed by an assassin on April 4, 1968. Though most commemorations are held on the date of the person’s death, many churches hold commemorations near Dr. King’s birth date of January 15, in conjunction with the American civil holiday honoring him. An alternate date for the commemoration is his death date, April 4.
January 17 Antony of Egypt, renewer of the church, died around 356
Antony was born in Qemen-al-Arous, Upper Egypt, and was one of the earliest Egyptian desert fathers. Born to Christian parents from whom he inherited a large estate, he took personally Jesus’ message to sell all that you have, give to the poor, and follow Christ. After making arrangements to provide for the care of his sister, he gave away his inheritance and became a hermit. Later, he became the head of a group of monks that lived in a cluster of huts and devoted themselves to communal prayer, worship, and manual labor under Antony’s direction. The money they earned from their work was distributed as alms. Antony and his monks also preached and counseled those who sought them out. Antony and the desert fathers serve as a reminder that certain times and circumstances call Christians to stand apart from the surrounding culture and renounce the world in service to Christ.
January 17 Pachomius, renewer of the church, died 346
Another of the desert fathers, Pachomius (puh-KOME-ee-us) was born in Egypt about 290. He became a Christian during his service as a soldier. In 320 he went to live as a hermit in Upper Egypt, where other hermits lived nearby. Pachomius organized them into a religious community in which the members prayed together and held their goods in common. His rule for monasteries influenced both Eastern and Western monasticism through the Rule of Basil and the Rule of Benedict, respectively.
January 18 Confession of Peter
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is framed by two commemorations, the Confession of Peter (a relatively recent addition to the calendar) and the older Conversion of Paul. Both apostles are remembered together on June 29, but these two days give us an opportunity to focus on key events in each of their lives. Today we remember that Peter was led by God’s grace to acknowledge Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). This confession is the common confession that unites us with Peter and with all Christians of every time and place.