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On this day, the First Sunday after Epiphany, we remember the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Our liturgy includes the Baptismal Covenant which those of us who have been baptized renew every time we participate in a service of Baptism. The covenant includes the words of the Nicene Creed, what we believe as people of God, and it also includes five questions which for me are as important as any questions to which we respond in our faith. Our response to each question is "I will with God's help." knowing that without God's help we are lost.

When the priest baptizes a person, she makes the sign of the cross on the brow and says "You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own forever."

Thus Marked is my word for today. What does it mean to be marked and how would that word guide your year?

I refer you to those five questions I mentioned:

Will you continue in the apostles' teaching and

fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the


I will, with God's help.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever

you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will, with God's help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good

News of God in Christ?

I will, with God's help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving

your neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God's help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all

people, and respect the dignity of every human


I will, with God's help.

Perhaps answering "I will with God's help," to each of these questions would be a good way to live "marked" this year. I might change my word!

Here is a beautiful word cloud from the Abbey of the Hearts blog (see link below) that might give you some other words to ponder for the year. Whatever you choose, don't leave off the I will with God's help response!


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