Today we are baptizing some brave folks at Ekko.
But in the midst of the chaos and death we see in the news, how appropriate is this occasion?
I would like to suggest that it is during these times that the Ceremony of Baptism can help us remember what we’re all called to be and do. Baptism is a signpost, pointing to Jesus’ victorious Resurrection. And because of the resurrection, we have real hope that God is going to make all things new. Baptism is the “cover song” of this reality. And because Jesus rose again, death (and all that is fueled by death or the fear of death) has lost its sting.
You see, what the world needs more than ever are people who are dead to the cravings of the “flesh” (sinful and selfish desires) and with it the promised rewards of having fought to meet those cravings.
The conflicts we witness on TV and the news are only capturing the manifestations of human desires and cravings for self-preservation; fighting to preserve our interpretation of peace, power, purity, and pleasure.
"Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures... “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." - Excerpt from Book of James
Baptism is an act of rebellion against our very nature to preserve this quality and this meaning of life. Baptism is our way of saying, “this isn’t working”, a new way must be embraced and followed.
Christ followers are like salmon going against current, upstream, instead of going with the flow of human cravings. Christ followers who are dead to themselves, which is what Baptism marks, are folks who are willing to turn the other cheek, to forgive, to consider the Other... Baptism celebrates a new breed of human beings, ones who will not repay evil for evil. So today, as we celebrate the brave souls who are getting baptized we must remind ourselves that we too have been baptized into this new humanity, this new culture, this new kingdom.
“For here's what I'm going to do… I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.” - Ezekiel 36: 24-27
Today we declare to the Death and to the Sin, we are not afraid of you, you have lost your sting.
We can live a new way,
we can be made new,
we have a new heart,
we have a new king.
See you at church,