The Baptism of the Lord – Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-16,21-22
“Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased”.
And in the Gospel, it isn’t Servant we hear, but Son. It’s about Jesus. It is He, who opposing the sometimes-cruel customs of the nation, brings them the law of love. It is He, who illuminates the darkness of human existence with the light of hope in eternal life. It is He, who did not break the bruised reed nor snuff out the smouldering wick, that is, – perhaps less vividly – He acted gracefully . . . .
I can hear the words of one of those 1970s hymns: “Go down in the city, into the street, and let’s give the message to the people we meet” . . . . and later on . . . “Go through the park, on into the town; the sun still shines on; it never goes down. The light of the world is risen again”. Something like that, right? To be a light, to open the eyes of those who do not see the hope that shines, which is Christ; to release prisoners who live convinced that there is only darkness, darkness and more darkness. And what about us? Disciples of Jesus in Britain at the beginning of the 21st century?
Many of us outraged at unjustified violence, justified criticism due to the wrong-doing of our shepherds, and the destruction of Christian values, have taken into their hands a “sword”. The sword of harsh words, indignation, and protest. We may have forgotten that our hater today is often a person who has not yet seen the light. And our task is not to push them still further into the abyss of hopelessness but to resist their darkness and to bring the light of hope into their lives. So that, happily, they can exclaim that they have seen through it and thanks to this their world is now different . . . .