The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord – End of Christmas

“A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people…so John declared: “I baptise you with water, but someone is coming….who will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
While Jesus was at prayer after his own baptism, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape like a dove… and a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you” (extract from Luke 3:15-22).

The Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Baptism, but why? Jesus was baptised as an adult; Christmas is about the Baby Jesus!

Well, partly true; partly false. Yes, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but we heard a Christmas story a couple of weeks ago (Feast of the Holy Family) which involved Jesus aged 12. So Christmas is not just about the BABY Jesus.
The Baptism of Jesus is the first time Jesus makes a decision of his own; that makes it an ideal place to end the Christmas Narrative.

So, what is his choice? At his baptism, Jesus is accompanied by – for the only time in the entire Bible – God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Unusually, the Father speaks (unusually becasue Jesus is the WORD OF GOD); uniquely, the Holy Spirit is ONLY EVER SEEN at Jesus’ baptism. We don’t know why the Spirit is in the form of a dove; there may have been a reason, but it’s not know now. So, for the only time in human history, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is seen, heard and sensed. The presence of the Trinity is God’s commitment to humanity. In his baptism (which means ‘immersion’) Jesus commits humanity, which he shares with all other people, to God’s gift!

The stage is set for Jesus’ ministry: so Christmas ends!

Low Moss Stations – update

The ‘Low Moss Stations’ Continued!

Tuesday 21 November 2017 – a memorable day for St. Matthew’s Parish when along with members of local churches, some parishioners went to HMP Low Moss for a very moving service of dedication of the Stations of the Cross as depicted by inmates past and present. The Stations had been crafted in Mosaic form during St. Matthew’s 70th anniversary year, and had been in place in the church for some time. Now they are relocated in a prominent and public part of the prison chaplains Revv. Martin Forrest, Deacon Kenny McGeachie, and John Gannon and  worked on the format of the stations,. Inmates, some of whom had worked on the Stations, led a very moving service of dedication which was introduced by Canon Robert Hill of St. Matthew’s, and opened and closed with prayer and blessing by Archbishop Mario Conti, former Archbishop of Glasgow. The occasion was a wonderful and memorable coming together of church and prison communities.

Also on the agenda on that day were the unveiling of the altar and chair, made by Low Moss inmates under the supervision of Officer Vincent Stewart and his colleagues. The altar will be used when we move into the church during the renovation work which will take place in St. Matthew’s, and the church next year. The chair is already in use.

St. Matthew’s Parish Community would like to acknowledge our sincere and deepest gratitude to all at Low Moss for their reaching out to our parish, and to pledge our prayers and good wishes for all at Low Moss.

 

Photo record of the memorable day below, as well as a picture of the Low Moss Chair in form of a Celtic Cross, drawing on the St. Matthew Cross on Iona, outside the Abbey Building.

The Stations on display, and the guys who led the service

 

Hard at work on the altar and the chair

 

The chair in place in St. Matthew’s Church