2018-19 RCL-C First Sunday After Epiphany

(Baptism of the Lord)

Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching

Epiphany 01: January 13, 2019 • Gospel Text: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Holy Spirit Is the Extra

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Proclamation for Today

by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth

Since the extra in Jesus’ way of baptism (compared to John) is the Holy Spirit, let’s focus on the extra the Holy Spirit brings.

Here in Luke’s gospel, the Holy Spirit is called out as the person between the proclamation concerning a Messiah, and the sorting that occurs in judgment. John humbles himself, lifts up Jesus, but then also articulates a proto-trinitarian description of the Holy Spirit in the economy of salvation.

Rowan William’s recent work on Christ the Heart of Creation offers one such way of framing this: “The Spirit is the agent that connects the agency and prayer of the believer with the agency of the Word, primarily of course the agency of Word uniquely embodied in Jesus. Indeed, it could be said that the definition of the Spirit’s distinctive role in much of the New Testament is that it is the divine action which consolidates the community’s identity as inhabited and formed by Jesus Christ — initially by being ‘poured out’ in baptism (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. John 7:37-39) then by shaping the virtues of the community and the interweaving of distinct gifts and vocations in the community (Romans 12:3-7, 1 Cor. 12) and by sharpening discernment among believers through the gift of ‘truthful’ life, life within the reality of the Word’s relation to the Father (John 15:26-16:15)” (81).

What does this have to do with preaching Jesus’ baptism? Well, it makes the baptism of Jesus about our participation in it. And because we are baptized into this baptism, and baptized with (in) this Holy Spirit, we can pray to the Father as Jesus prayed to the Father.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer liked to say that preaching was Jesus Christ walking around among the church community. Preaching the baptism of the LORD then shifts things one essential pneumatological degree, preaching to the community in such a way that the community becomes Jesus Christ walking around among the world. And it is the Spirit spoken by Jesus at baptism into Christ that does this.

Inevitably, some hearers and probably some preachers will get hung up in this text on the burning chaff. For the sake of lowering anxiety and also more authentically preaching what such a text might truly mean, keep in mind the chaff is just one part of the plant, not the whole… as is the wheat. So if the community imagines itself as a field, and stalks of grain as individual members, it would be wrong-headed to consider the possibility that individual hearers are either chaff or wheat. Rather, each of us is both, and one of “the divine action[s] which consolidates the community’s identity as inhabited and formed by Jesus Christ“ is the work of the Spirit to cast off the chaff in order to store up the wheat.

This is ultimately what justice looks like. For the granary to be filled properly, for the kingdom of God to be established, things will need to be made right.

The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.

  1. Historical Exegetical Resources

  2. Contemporary Resources

  3. Video & Other Resources

  4. RCL Daily Devotional

  5. Worship Trends

  6. Free Dramatic Reading of the RCL Text

Epiphany Header Art

Historical Exegetical Resources

Contemporary Resources

Quotable Quote RCL Image (copyright 2018)
If you accept the belief that baptism incorporates us in the mystical body of Christ, into the divine DNA, then you might say that the Holy Spirit is present in each of us, and thus we have the capacity for the fullness of redemption, of transformation.
— Thomas Keating
Food For Thought Image RCL (copyright 2018)


For Kids

Contemporary Exegesis

·  "The Power of a Father's Affirmation," Rick Fry, 2013.

·  "On Taking the Watery Plunge," Michael Coffey, 2013.

·  "Beloved," Rick Morley, 2013.

·  "Risky Waters," Heather Carlson, Ekklesia Project, 2013.



A Good Read


A wonderful resources using the simple, clear text adapted from the French Reformed Church liturgy. Great for children’s sermons and as gifts for baptismal sponsors.

LINK HERE: At Your Baptism – Board book



Video Resources

Additional Hymns & Praise Music: “Alison Krauss — Down to the River to Pray”



Free Current RCL Daily Devotional


More Reading For You


Current RCL Worship Trends


Dramatic Reading of the Text

Readers: Narrator, John, Voice

Narrator: As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying,

John: I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.

Narrator: Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven,

Voice: You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.

Pronunciation Guide

winnowing: WIN-oh-ing granary: GRAYN-uh-ree chaff: CHAff