Wade in the Water

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

As we are immersed in this sacred practice of waiting

Anticipating of the mystery that will transform our hearts

How then, will we live out our baptismal identity

How, as people of faith

Will we translate the Good News from the abstract

To action

For the world?

Through Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

 (pause)

The article that caught my attention from Huffington Post

a couple of years ago,

Had this headline-

‘Big Rich Texas’ Leslie

Offers tips on a Stylish adult baptism!’

Now-

I have no idea who Leslie is,

Or the show,

Because apparently it was floating out there in the sewage of cable reality TV land-

But our friend Leslie here states-

That its cool to have baptisms in your pool at home,

Because to her “It’s much more controlled,

And cleaner”

(pause)

In this clip on youtube

our good friend Leslie begins by telling us,

“I’m going to show you how to make an adult baptism stylish!”

Complete with a runway showing

of baptismal fashions that are classy,

she remarks

Because a baptism is not the time to be boobalicious(flaunty)

(pause, wait for laughter)

Not surprisingly this episode’s video in its entirety

was removed off the internet

Not surprisingly the remarks by people of faith was one of well,

Speechless

Not surprisingly could we not see our friend,

Our brother John

Yelling at the top of his lungs

“You brood of vipers!”

This verse always makes me laugh,

Because John pulls no punches

And calls people on the carpet

This verse leaves us no doubt scratching our heads,

Wondering about John being rude

But,

When people of this world

Take something as sacred as this Rite of Baptism

And turn it into

A festive celebration turned inward onto themselves

And not outward

Towards the community which surrounds them with joy,

Towards the One who cradles us in that moment of birth

Towards the One who breathes sacred breath into who we are,

Why are we surprised that John’s very being is on fire,

Calling those who gathered that day,

And us now

Into question?

(pause)

The people who were coming to gather,

In our Gospel text this morning,

Seem to be eager to be baptized

But John ignored the boundaries of proper society

And shook them into the FIRE,

Waking them UP

That just being baptized

WAS NOT ENOUGH

Shocking right?

Controversial, right?

Jesus commands in the Gospel of Matthew

To go and baptize all nations

What else is there, right?

But our ministry and witness and responsibility to one another

Should not,

Does not

Stop there

Baptism is not fire insurance,

Clearly to be baptized

in John’s time

means you would be counted

Welcomed

Marked as a member of the community,

A part of a community where you had a voice,

Where no one would have to worried about your soul

When you closed your eyes to this world

But,

John wanted the people,

this crowd of the faithful

And even perhaps the unfaithful

To not lean on just the fact

That they were descendants of Abraham

But that there was MORE

MORE than how they and we identify,

As Lutherans

Or Methodists

Or Catholics

Yes MORE!

More than just checking this off of one’s to do list-,

Martin Luther states in the Large Catechism,

“Therefore let all Christians regard their baptism,

As a daily garment they are to wear all the time.”

Luther adds because of baptism,

If we want to claim Christianity

We must practice the work that makes us so.

(pause)

And that is what John is saying here in the Gospel text-

Honesty,

Kindness

Hospitality,

Actively living out their faith!

This is how the Kingdom of God comes in

Not through flashiness,

Or fanfare,

But the simple act of sharing what we have with one another,

Sharing of bread and wine at the Table,

Sharing the gift of Jesus Christ

Sharing space and the peace,

As we all-regardless of who we are,

Kneel in the presence of an ordinary babe

A babe who has an extraordinary power, gift, LIFE

Healing,

Revolutionary

Unexpected

Earth shattering

ALL encapsulated

In His Birth

(pause)

Good News for us today, right?

Remember, we are ordinary people

And so through remembering the promises given

John proclaims “I baptize you with water,

But one who is more powerful than I will come,

He, Jesus Christ,

Will drown our old selves,

Our fears and sorrows

Our pain which has festered upon our very being,

Because of this world

Jesus Christ will cover us with LIFE

Renewing who we are,

As God’s Children

Through the Holy Spirit-

And because of this New identity

As followers of Jesus-

We then are called to go out

Taking the Good News with us

Caring for those who are alone or abandoned by family

Taking fellowship and love and peace with us,

especially to our Muslim sisters and brothers

Working alongside others as the Gospel calls us to

Especially those who have been homeless

THIS is what being Baptized is about

Not only welcomed as a child of God,

But FREE

FREE to explore this sacred space we call Redeemer

FREE to seek out and be immersed in ministry

FREE to be countercultural

To push boundaries

In a world which seemingly rewards impatience

Immaturity

Selfishness

FREE to witness, to testify,

FREE to actively live out

The Good News!

So come with me know,

We are FREE To wash this new sister in Christ over in water,

Welcoming her to our community of faith

Wading in the Healing Waters!

Thanks Be to God

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