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Baptism of Jesus: Submerging & subverting the paradigm
A Lesbian’s Lectionary Journey

Baptism of Jesus: Submerging & subverting the paradigm

First Sunday After Epiphany, Year A

Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm 29

Acts 10:34-43

Matthew 3:13-17

A couple of days ago I announced that I am beginning a year-long journey through the Revised Common Lectionary. You can click here for an in-depth exploration of what the RCL is, but in short, that is what churchy types call the three-year cycle (A, B and C) of scripture that many pastors in churches of multiple denominations follow as they prepare their sermons each week. We entered Year A at the beginning of Advent. I have been preparing for this project since I have entered seminary over a decade ago (and maybe since I received my first sweet little bible from my paw paw over 40 years ago) and yet I am a tad terrified by the prospect of the work involved and what might happen on the journey.

And so it begins.

I was asked yesterday if I plan to focus solely on the Gospel reading each week or will I be addressing all four assigned texts. Yes.

Okay, I suppose it depends on the nature of the texts, but it is my intent to explore all four texts, especially because my gut instinct is to avoid the troubling texts and prescribed readings that seem to make no damn sense when reading the Gospel message. Also, I worry about the inclination to read Hebrew scripture through the lens of the Gospel because they stand on their own AND they are part of the entire narrative. Sigh, this is gonna get messy before it starts to look like anything appetizing.

I’m filled with more questions than answers, which is a good thing since I believe questions are holy while certitude is specious at best. I think the best way to get started on this journey is to invite you into my process and see what happens.

As I began work on the texts for Sunday, January 8, I felt a little like Buddy the Elf having just  passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then walked smack dab into the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The Christmas decorations are not even put away, Epiphany is coming to a close and on Sunday we’ll have gone from child Jesus being showered with gifts (and narrowly escaping the slaughter of innocents) to Jesus being submerged in the Jordan by the bug-eating zealot, John.

Before reading the assigned texts, I quickly jotted down the ideas and questions about the Gospel lesson that popped into my head when I thought about baptism...

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