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Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Turlock, CA

Pastor's Thoughts for January 2009


Each month our pastor writes to us from our Turlock church to share his thoughts on a topic of religious significance. His goal is to link the word of God as it is presented in the Bible and apply it to the context of our daily lives. Although each of these messages is dated they are in fact timeless in their spiritual significance.


Epiphany is the time when we review many of the lessons that deal with the revealing of Christ as the promised one, as announced in the Advent lessons. The word Epiphany means "manifestation" or appearing or revealing. It is not enough to remember Christmas. We need to tie it together with the Advent proclamation so we understand the promised one was the Christ child.

Before Christ was baptized He was unknown. Except for the brief note about Him at the age of 12 in the temple, Christ was anonymous. But after His baptism He could no longer be anonymous. The Spirit was given, thus putting Him on mission. And His mission is, the same as it is for all us servants, noted in Isaiah 42:6-7 RSV. "I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness."

Once Christ identified Himself as the child of God, He could no longer be anonymous but had to go on mission.

What about our baptism then? We too, are anonymous until we are baptized, until we are connected. Once we make the connection, we have identity and can no longer remain anonymous. Once we are connected the Holy Spirit is given and He empowers us with His spirit, and sends us on mission.

Our baptism is our identification with the family of God's people. And so, in baptism we are to be surrounded by the family, no longer alone. Our baptism is not some private affair but involves the whole people of God. We become a part of a family. In the family we are supported and cared for in our growing up in the Lord.

I am a child of God. You are a child of God. To be a child of God is to be identified. And when we are identified, we stand for something. And once we stand for something, we must move to action. We may lose some friends. We may lose some money. But ultimately we will be winners. Our baptism is not an isolated event. It is a beginning.

May you be renewed by the knowledge that your baptism makes you connected to Him and you are now in His family. He is counting on you to be His flesh and blood today.

-Pastor Starkey