January 8, 2023

A07: The Baptism of the Lord, Year A (2023)

Carla Pratt Keyes

“Some of my favorite artwork is the artwork I receive from children in my congregation at the end of a service…I especially love it when kids draw what they see or hear about during our worship…Last year, on Baptism of the Lord Sunday, it was abundantly clear which part of the story had captured our kids’ attention: it was the spirit of God descending like a dove,” begins Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. She continues, “As every one of the gospels,” including today’s passage from Matthew 3:13-17, “describes Christ’s baptism, God’s Holy Spirit is said to descend on him like a dove. So the dove is one of the most popular symbols for God’s Holy Spirit.” While our baptisms are usually a joyous occasion, Keyes reminds us that, just as in the story of Noah, there is the flood, “the drowning of evil in us and around us…evil that has run so hard and rampant, we need God to destroy it. We need God to help us start over.” However, God sends Noah a dove, “a sign that this wasn’t the end. There was life out there: new life.” As you remember your baptism this week, look for the doves God might be sending you.

Manuscript available: click HERE