Winchester England Priory of St Swithun or Hyde Abbey  1121- 1161 Winchester Psalter Psalter of Henry of Blois Psalter of St Swithun -Baptism of Christ angel holds robe


Medieval European art is highly stylized, with elongated figures and stiff poses. It may not be to everyone’s taste but it does focus our eyes upon the intended message. Take this panel from a psalter of the 12th century at Westminster Priory in England. It accompanies the text of the Baptism of Jesus, as we will read this Sunday, Mark 1: 1-11. I am struck how clearly the servanthood of Jesus is communicated as he sets out upon his public ministry, with Jesus of small stature before John the Baptiser, without clothing of any kind, and head bowed. I am also struck how clearly the affirmation of Jesus is communicated, not only by the Spirit descending like a dove, but by the waters of creation (with its fish!) leaping up to acknowledge him. ‘You are my beloved’ is heard loud and clear – ‘beloved’ because he has accepted the call to work a new beginning for humanity.

With the congregations of St. George’s Anglican and Sydenham Street United, we will also read Psalm 72. This day marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald. This father of Confederation had affiliations with all three ‘streams’ of the Church over his life time, and this psalm is said to be the one from which the title (‘dominion’) and the motto (A Mari usque ad Mare) of the new nation of Canada arose – ‘May he have dominion from sea to sea’ (verse 8).

Join us! And come early at 10:10 a.m. for a pre-service, by-request hymn sing.

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