Epiphany 1 – Year B
The Mark pericope really should start with verse 1 rather than 4. Baptism is grounded in creation, or its not grounded. This Genesis passage might well fit Mark's opening line, "In the beginning of good news. . ." and continue on with "See, I am sending my messenger ahead." [All the little fiddly bits (as fjords have been described in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), including all the details of days 1 to 7, have come before us to give evidence of good news.]
If we conflate the first and second creation stories we might choose to focus on the third day. "And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters God called seas: and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:10, mostly KJV) From here it is but a hop, skip, and jump to Genesis 2:6. "But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground." (KJV)
That which was separated still belonged together. Baptism is a bringing back together of the humus/human/earth/ground and the sea/water/mist/river. Baptism is a creative moment – "Let there be . . . !" a returning back to basics in order to go further than we have so far come – one step back that we might take two steps ahead.
Baptism that is Baptism is a very present ancient future that energizes us to new levels – indeed, to the very good. Baptism that is only baptism is still good in it's bringing to mind what might yet be. The difference seems not to be in the amount of water or the trace minerals it carries, but this mysterious, creation-oriented, gift of Wisdom (from last week) and Holy Spirit (this week). Good luck in trying to tie them down through any ritual, including Baptism.