Hello, dear friends of Jesus.  Our readings for Sunday are from Psalm 29; Isaiah 42:1-9; Romans 6:1-11; Matthew 3:13-17. We will be celebrating the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. This is how our Lord’s public ministry began, with an unexpected appearance at the river’s edge coaxing a very reluctant John the Baptist into washing him along with the rest of the crowd of sorry sinners.  Jesus stood with sinners then, and he stands with sinners now. Because it is so simple, there is the constant danger among Christians that baptism will become for us just a splash of water, just a nice-sounding ritual, something to check off the list along with the baby shower and booster shots. But baptism is not just an isolated one-time event. Like the kick-off to a football game, baptism marks only the beginning of a spiritual adventure for every Christian – an adventure that is filled with ups and downs of every sort. In baptism we, like Jesus, hear the promise that we are not alone. We have a Father who loves us and the promise of the Holy Spirit to guide us and empower us to live a new kind of life (Rom. 6). As Martin Luther would remind us, EVERY day is a day to remember you are baptized. The promises spoken over you then are still true today. You are God’s beloved son or daughter. With you He is well pleased. And all because of Jesus who wasn’t afraid to stand in the place of sinners and be counted as one of them. The LORD bless all your comings and goings this week.