This psalm transports me, a land-locked Iowan, to the shore of an ocean or perhaps to one of the Great Lakes. A gale-force wind blows; waves pound the sand or break on the giant boulders. In the wild cacophony of nature I hear the "voice of the Lord." The Psalm proclaims God as Creator of the cosmos, able to shake the wilderness and cause the oak trees to whirl.
Why is this psalm appointed for the celebration of The Baptism of Our Lord? Perhaps because there are other waters over which God speaks, the waters of the font to which we bring people of all ages. Baptismal fonts come in all shapes and sizes, of course, from large tanks used for immersion to a small bowl on a table. But these are waters over which the voice of the Lord also thunders: You are my beloved child. Clothed in the Trinity, you are held in my love forever. The waters of baptism are mighty waters, made mighty, Luther reminds us, by God's Word and God's command. In and over them God's claim on us forever is proclaimed with thundering love.
Thank you, Mighty God, for declaring us your beloved children. May this gift of love free us to serve you with joy today and always. Amen.
Psalm 29 (NRSV)
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!