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Reflection Title: 
Till We Have Faces
Reflection Content: 

Baptism is an ancient form of recognition, drawing the attention of all who are present to who the person really is. Plunged in water as in a womb and born again, is the person made new? Or are we, the onlookers, given new eyes to see? Baptism is purgation. It wipes clean all the images we carry in our mind and heart about the person’s identity. For the first time, the person is not a child of certain parents, a member of our tribe, our class, or even our community of believers. The person is an “uncanny centre of otherness” whose life will unfold in a unique and singular way, not free of family, class, or community, but more than all those graced or cursed relationships offer. The person is born anew in our eyes as a daughter or son of the mystery of God, beyond all our presumptions and expectations. Words heard from beyond all society and culture have to offer or presume: “This is my beloved. . . in whom I am well pleased.” 

Story Title: 
Called by Name
Story Content: 

And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And straightway, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens being parted, and the Spirit as a dove descending up Him; and there came to be a voice out of the heavens, “Thou art My Son, the Beloved, in Thee I am well pleased.”

And Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when He being, as was supposed, a son of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Matthan, the son of Levi . . . the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, who was the son of God.

—Mark 1:9–11; Luke 3:23–24a, 38 

Contemporary Story Title: 
This Malala, My Daughter
Contemporary Story Content: 

On October 9, 2012, the Taliban attempted to assassinate a young schoolgirl; they shot fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the head when she was on a bus headed home from school in Pakistan. Malala is a young activist who was shot for speaking up for female education rights and equality. On the one-year anniversary of the attack, Malala sat down for her first Canadian interview with CBC Radio’s Anna Maria Tremonti to talk about her continuing fight for female education in Pakistan, and her life in the crosshairs of the Taliban. Malala has addressed the United Nations and has received numerous international awards for her work. She has become a global icon of child rights and is an inspiration to many.  

“For him, I was special, and I think every girl is special, and every person is special. But my father recognized me, many of the girls who were special but their parents did not recognize them, they did not give them a chance to go forward. And my father is a great father, because for him I was special, because he recognized me and he said, this Malala, she’s my daughter, and she has the same equal rights as my sons have. And he educated me; he gave me admission in his own school. Because my father was running a school he started in 1994, and he started it with 4 students, and now there are 1,100 students now. And the school is still going on, so I was in his school, and it was quite, for me it was really hard to be in my father’s school. I think the only thing that he gave me that was really special, and as he said, that he did not cut my wings, he gave me the freedom as my brothers have.” 

—Audio: CBC Radio’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti. “Interview with Malala Yousafzai.” 2013. 

Artwork Title: 
The Showing
Artwork Content: 

The Baptistery of Neon is an early Orthodox site located in Ravenna, Italy. It was erected in the early fifth century by Bishop Ursus as part of his great Basilica, and finished by Bishop Neon at the end of the fifth century, at which time a decorative mix of Hellenic and Byzantine-influenced mosaics were added to the dome. The octagonal design of the brick building was purposefully created to symbolize the number eight. In Orthodox spiritual tradition, the “eighth day of creation” is the time in which we live. The presence of the commonwealth of God is creation, enfolded, as the Genesis narrative suggests, in seven days. Creation is complete but not finished. The eighth day of creation speaks to openness to the fullness of God’s commonwealth coming to greet us. The inside of the ancient baptistery is a large octagonal marble and porphyry baptismal font that rests in the center. The ceiling mosaic within the dome depicts the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. In the lower right of the central medallion is a personification of the Jordan River as a pagan water god, holding a reed in one hand, and offering a garment to Jesus in the other. The spirit of God descends as a dove above Jesus’ head. This scene is surrounded by a circle of the Twelve Apostles carrying crowns in their veiled hands. The outer ring of the mosaic is divided into eight sections with alternating empty thrones, (representing the divinity of Christ) and altars with open Gospel books. Today, the Baptistery of Neon stands as one of the earliest surviving monuments of Ravenna and speaks to the mystery of baptism that took place there. 

Question Title: 
Am I loved?
Question Content: 

Awakened to “I”

God in his love turns to each person, calls each of us by his name. The awareness of God’s love awakens in us the consciousness of an “I”.

— Nahum N. Glatzer, after Franz Rosenzweig, (1886-1929)

What Is in a Name?

Where did your name come from? With whom does it invite you to identify? Do you remember when you were first called by name? Have you ever met someone who had the same name as you? Do you remember when someone, a parent, a loved one, a child, played with your name, sang to you about your name and who you were to them? Has hearing your name awakened a sense of who you are or who you are not or who you wish you would be? 

Music Content: 

Behold the Lamb of God

A chorus from the abiding and beloved oratorio by Handel (1685–1756), the Messiah.

“Behold the Lamb of God.” George Frederic Handel, Handel Messiah, The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra, Harry Christophers, conductor, Hyperion 1997. CD 1, track 23.

 

Antienne Ton 6/ Celi aperti sunt [The Skies Opened]

In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, the voice from heaven at the baptism of Christ and the voice the speaks from the clouds at the transfiguration begin with the same words: “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased...” Peter the Venerable (c.1092-1156), Abbot of Cluny from 1122 to his death, wrote this antiphon (and the selections at tracks 10, 18 and 20 below) for the Divine Office for the Feast of the Transfiguration. 

“Antienne Ton 6/ Celi aperti sunt.” Peter the Venerable, Cluny: La Transfiguration—Chants de Pierre le Vénérable, Ensemble Venance Fortunat, Anne-Marie Deschamps, director, L’Empreinte Digitale (Harmonia Mundi, distribution). Track 14.

 

. . . which was the son of . . .

Unlike Matthew’s genealogy, which focuses on Jesus’ place within the Jewish tradition, Luke connects all of humanity through a common beginning in God’s creation, Adam, who Luke calls the son of God. This also creates a new paradigm, establishing Jesus as the second Adam.

Arvo Pärt chose to set this text in what he call its ‘traditional and authoritative’ translation to fulfill a commission for the youth choir Voices of Europe when they gathered in Reykjavík in 2000...[Because of] the composer’s interest in the deep-rooted Icelandic tradition of passing on names from one generation to generation, and his wish to impart this ‘story of civilization’ to young people, verses 23 to 38 of Luke 3 became a compelling text. To him, one senses, this is not merely a fabulous list of ancient names...there is something germinal and sacred about it.

Meurig Bowen, from the notes to the recording.

“...which was the son of...” Arvo Pärt, Triodion, Polyphony, Stephen Layton, conductor, Hyperion 2003. Track 3.

 
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Image Summary: 

The Baptism of Christ, circa 475. 

Story Audio: 
Contemporary Story Audio: 

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