Baptism of the Lord
By Karen Tillery of Rich Hill, MO, USA
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” —Matthew 3:13–17 NRSV
Youth camps are great opportunities to introduce young people to Jesus or to reinforce their knowledge. I once served as a counselor at junior camp where I had two campers who were newcomers and two returning campers. I realized it was going to be a challenging week when the two newcomers came crying to me about feeling left out. They felt like the returning campers were flaunting their experience and knowledge. The veteran campers knew all the pool rules, “KP” (kitchen patrol) routines, campfire location, how to say a blessing for a meal and look up scripture passages. They had even brought all the items the camp brochure suggested! The clincher was the experienced campers had recently been baptized, and they were proud of it!
On the second day of camp, I called a “come-to-Jesus meeting” so we could discuss the issues between the newcomers and the experienced campers. We discussed what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and made a list of ways we could mirror Jesus. The girls listed sharing God’s love and being kind, generous, forgiving, and welcoming.
From then on, the veteran campers took the newcomers under their wings and truly shared the love of Christ. The new campers began to feel welcomed and most of all “beloved.” Just a few weeks after camp I received an invitation to baptize one of the new campers. I knew God would be well pleased that she chose to follow Jesus into the waters of baptism.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.