January 12, 2020

This week, our gospel lesson is the story of Jesus’ baptism as recorded for us in the Gospel of Matthew (3:13-17). Matthew writes that as Jesus emerges from the water; heaven opens, the Spirit descends on him like a dove and a voice declares, “This is my Son whom I love and find happiness in” (CEB).

“This is my Son,” the one who was humbly laid in a manger after being born, the one who healed on the Sabbath, touched lepers and ate with sinners. The one who taught us to love even our enemies and promoted turning the other cheek, the one who preached, “Blessed are the peacemakers”, who told us to serve rather than be served and the one who welcomed Jew and Gentile alike. “This is my Son.”

What if we truly embraced the teachings of the one declared “The Son” at his baptism? What would our homes, neighborhoods, towns and cities, our nation, the world be like? What if we loved more and forgave more, even our enemies? What if we served more and were less critical? What if we compromised more and let go of petty grievances? What if we were less fearful and more welcoming? What if we sought to make peace and reconciled more? What if we embraced the teachings of the one declared “The Son” at his baptism? What if?


Rev. Bradley A. Walmer,
a 2008 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree and was awarded the 2008 Rev. Delores Berry prize for preaching. He was ordained into Christian ministry by the Lebanon Association of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ on June 1, 2008. Prior to beginning his pastorate here at New Covenant on August 1, 2015, he served as the pastor of St. Paul’s Summer Hill UCC in Auburn, Pa  (located southeast of Pottsville, PA).

Pastor Brad and his wife Michelle were born and raised in Lebanon County and now reside in the area with their dog, Barkley.


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