Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Baptism of Jesus

Today's Link
Learning to Breath

Saying for the Day
Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep. ~Samuel Johnson

Picture of the Day

Today Liturgical Churches are celebrating the Baptism of Jesus. The Gospel text is Mark 1:4-11 and tells us of the baptism of Jesus by John. It is an important text and event for several reasons.
1. It let’s us see the Trinity. The Father Speaks, the Spirit descends, and Jesus stands at the center of it all.
2. It says that baptism is important for even Jesus got baptized.
For Lutherans it marks the beginning of a new kind of baptism. The old baptism was a symbolic washing away of our sin. A public statement that we were going to change. The new baptism is God sending his Holy Spirit to change us. The old was our action. The new depends on God.
I know that inside the Christian faith there is a lot of disagreement over the nature of baptism. I don’t wish to argue with anybody or even to try to change any minds. I just want to tell you what baptism means to me.
A long time ago when I was a baby my parents brought me to the baptismal font and God put his arms around me and made me his own. He did this because He loved me. I didn’t have the right theology. I hadn’t done the right things. All of the action was from God to me. Over all the years God has never left go. I am still his child.
I have failed often but He forgave and then forgave again.
When the Devil said God can not love a sinner like you I answered with Luther “ I am baptized”.
If it had depended on me I could have lost it. I would have had to do it over again.
If it had depended on my faith level I would have had to get rebaptized every time I grew in the faith.
But I knew that it depended on God and he would hang on to me.
Today we celebrate the baptism of Jesus and I will celebrate mine as well.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Poor Pastor Joan. She is trying to write a sermon about Baptism but her mind is in a turmoil. She knows Social Services will be coming to see her this week. She knows she will have to lie. It is tearing her up.
She remembers the lecture in Seminary where she was told that there are times when one must choose between truth and justice. She felt then it couldn’t happen to her. It could happen to people who were trying to hide people from concentration camps but not to people who lived in a free country like this one. She was wrong. She had to choose between truth and justice. If she told the truth Oops would end up being studied by the government somewhere. She would have no chance to grow up as a normal child. Who knows what they would do to her to get her secrets? Justice demanded that she hide her.
But she hated the thought of lying. She knew that telling lies was sin. She was stuck.
Then her mind came back to the sermon she was writing. The God of her Baptism would forgive her. God would forgive her not because she was doing a bad thing for a good reason. No! He would forgive her just as He forgave her when she did bad things for bad reasons. God loved her. In Baptism he made her his child. He would carry her through this.
She knew He would. She was Baptized.

Wrap Up
Just a bit late on this wrap up. It was a great day. I enjoy taking pictures of the Sunday School. The service was great. The choir was as good as ever. Pastor Steve preached on the gospel and it was another great sermon. The fellowship after was great. hen I came home and spent most of the afternoon updating the Church web page. After much trial and error I was able to put thechoir on the opening of the web page. Then I watched a little football. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Living on the Spit said...

I don't know whether or not I was ever baptized but I did get confirmed as a Methodist...I ahve often thought about getting baptized just to make sure, you know...

I know God has never left me and oftem look at footprints in the sand and see how relevant it is in my life.


3:35 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

I'm almost ready to cry... I can't help feeling that Pastor Joan is going to wind up with a broken heart at the end of this story. Either Oops will be found out... or she'll have to go back to where she came from. Either way our dear Pastor is going to lose. This secret is just TOO BIG. But I hope! I DO hope! If only Oops wouldn't glow.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

Dr. John, I really enjoyed your post today. Remembering our baptisim is always a source of great comfort for me. I can so vividly recall the moment when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

The conflict for Pastor Joan must be tearing her apart. I do believe that God will forgive her.
We are only human.

blessings to you and Mrs. Betty

5:32 AM  
Blogger Gattina said...

I am a little suspicious about baptizising a baby. It has no choice, you say yourself : "A long time ago when I was a baby my parents brought me to the baptismal font"
If your parents would have been catholics, you would be a catholic today, a jew, a muslim, a buddhist, it has never been your choice, you just were born into it. If later you agree to your confirmation, then it's your choice, because you are old enough to choose.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Pastor Joan needs to remember that God is in control. I think that is one of the most reassuring things about baptism.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

I am impressed, Dr. John. I could not work my way around those words and you made it look easy!

9:14 PM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Is there no way she can avoid telling the truth and avoid telling a lie. I have a friend who is an expert at producing satisfying answers that don't really give any information. Even in high school we thought she should be a politician. She is content to be a really great mom and den leader.

9:26 PM  

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