By Karin Peter of Olympia, WA, USA
John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. —Luke 3:16 NRSV
For several years we journeyed to the shore of Lake Superior just as the season changed from autumn to winter. For my husband and me, it was a season of respite and renewal. We would walk along the water’s edge while the icy wind swept across the water. Later we would sit under a picnic shelter and build a fire to warm our hands and faces.
Something about those experiences kept us coming back each year. When I stood on the rocky shore and took in the vast expanse of the lake, it put my own life in perspective. It was a “thin place” where it seemed I could physically encounter God’s Spirit.
The crowds followed John the Baptizer into the wilderness. Through water, wind, and fire they experienced transformation and renewal. Epiphany gives us the opportunity to renew our spiritual beings as well. We find ourselves at the beginning of a new year. God is present and active among us. The Holy Spirit inspires us to care for others and to act in ways of justice and peace. This Epiphany may we encounter God in water, wind, and fire, and may God reveal to us new and transforming ways.
Prayer for Peace
Surprising God, may we encounter you every day in unexpected ways. Help us always be aware that the world is about to turn—that Christ’s birth changed everything, causing justice and peace to rise above power and possession.
Spiritual Practice: Embodying God’s Shalom
Find a way to express and embody God’s shalom. Begin by prayerfully listening to your longing for peace. Become silent and imagine you can hear the groaning of the Earth’s people, nations, and creatures. Prayerfully open yourself to God’s yearning for peace and the divine vision of shalom.
What images, feelings, and words come to you? What prayer for peace comes to you from your time of listening? Speak or write this prayer. What act of justice, kindness, healing, or peacemaking does God invite you to consider this day?
Today, God, I will bask in your Spirit and be baptized anew.