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Sunday, January 07, 2018

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O one with God the Father
in majesty and might,
the brightness of his glory,
eternal Light of light:
to gloomy haunts of darkness
your rays are streaming down;
the shadows flee before you,
the world's true light has come.

Yet, Lord, we see but dimly,
O heav'nly Light, arise;
dispel these mists that shroud us
and hide you from our eyes.
We long to track the footprints
where you yourself have trod;
we long to see the pathway
that leads to you, our God.

O Jesus, shine around us
with radiance of your grace;
O Jesus, turn upon us
the brightness of your face.
We need no star to guide us,
as on our way we press,
if you will light our pathway,
O Sun of righteousness.

Christians have sometimes had deep disagreements about the nature and proper administration of the Sacrament of Baptism. But there is one aspect of our faith with which we can all agree: the necessity of Christ. Today marks the first Sunday of the season of Epiphany, in which we emphasize the revelation of God to the world in Jesus Christ. For those churches who celebrate today as "The Baptism of Jesus," the gospel reading always tells the story of Jesus' baptism, in which the voice of God unequivocally declares Jesus as God's beloved Son.

Jesus reveals God to us. Careful theology and sound doctrine can sharpen our knowledge and understanding of our relationship with God. But Jesus is the clearest window through which God presents Godself to us. Jesus is not a theological concept, but living, breathing, visible flesh. If the Bible is all about relationship, and healthy relationships require growing knowledge of the other in that relationship, then we need to learn about Jesus in order to know what kind of God, God is.

God of grace and mercy, forgive us when we go astray. We seek a clearer understanding of you and how we relate with you and with the world you have made. But, too often, that quest divides us rather than unites us. Help us to understand that our unity—the bond of relationship among us—is ultimately found in Christ and Christ alone. Amen.

J. David Whelan, '95
Pastor of Visitation and Care, Central Lutheran Church, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.