Water, Stars, Word

Grace and Peace to you,

My sisters and brothers in Christ

When we are faced with days

Where the world only sees you as a failure

Mistakes

Imperfection

We know that the Light eternally burns brightly

Guiding us Home

Where the warmth of Love

Through the Holy Spirit

Shines

Where waters flow, cupped and poured over us by the One

Who has the power to wash away our sins

Jesus Christ,

Amen.

(pause)

Water is amazing

An essential part of Creation

Water’s healing properties cradled in a mother’s hands

Is nothing short of medicine,

Soothing babies rocked with fever,

And for the rest of us,

Soothing when the temperature wrinkles our skin

Water is vital,

Washing away impurities,

Carrying away the grit

Grime

Making us feel human once more

In San Francisco

A nonprofit called Lava Mae

Is rooted in its mission

Repurposing decommissioned buses

Restoring them

Into mobile showers,

For the least of these

For the homeless

How much different their experience

After not having any access to wellness

To water

How much different they appear

Transformed

Reminding us, with some shame

That they are our sisters and brothers in Christ

And in Faith

So then the rest of humanity is not so shocked

of their existence

Perhaps then, because of water,

We will be moved to interact,

Welcoming them

Into our House

(pause)

Water is a daily part of humanity’s ritual

That we are not even conscious of

In these moments of solitude

where we are in the presence of the Divine,

Of the Holy Spirit

We have a unique opportunity to remember our Baptism

My academic advisor Dr. Kurt Hendel

Routinely during his Lutheran Confessions course

Shared his grand idea for bringing the joys of Baptism

To the wider community outside of the Seminary’s walls

It amounted to borrowing the firehoses from our nearby neighbors

Of a Chicago firehouse

Turning it on in the middle of 55th street as people drove past

Walked past

Drenching them and yelling out at the same time

“Remember your Baptism!”

That freedom of Good News,

Encouraging us to immerse ourselves into this baptismal identity

Prompted more than once for us as seminarians

To travel through our baptismal font in the Chapel

Remembering our Baptisms

Your pastor here has also been known

To stand out in the middle of thunderstorms,

Marveling as the light interrupts the darkness

Welcoming the pelting of rain upon my very being.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters,

The Lord thunders over the mighty waters”

In these moments

We are thankful with the knowledge

No matter how we have failed others

Or even ourselves

We are still awashed in our identity

As Beloved Children of God

(pause)

Water is a reminder of who we are

And whose we are

“You are my Son

Whom I love

With you

I am well pleased.”

We too, hear the Words of the Creator God

In our Gospel text this morning,

For us!

Just as God pours out the Holy Spirit

Upon Jesus Christ

So too, we should hear God’s affirmation upon us!

Baptism is not something on a checklist that we just satisfy

Secured our seat, our place beyond eternity

Just as we are brought forth into this world

through sacred waters of life

The Word is vibrated within us

That God Loves us

That God in these waters of Baptism

CLAIMS US AS GOD’S OWN

In these times when our identity in this society,

Changes

Is Distorted

Is Unknown

There is nothing certain, sure and concrete-

We move from neighborhoods

We leave and travel between faith communities

Our work becomes economic survival instead of longevity

What is our anchor, our comfort in this life?

(pause)

Baptism was one of Martin Luther’s favorite subjects

Luther talks about the drowning,

Immersing

That Baptism frees us as people of faith

From the things that have the potential

To keep us from the eternal shinning stars of Light

And the overflowing, unconditional Love of God

Why do we as people of faith,

Run from those invitations of remembering our Baptism

Especially among the beloved community?

(leave the pulpit and stand center with the asperullim and bowl of water and talk about how we cringe when the pastor comes down the middle of the aisle flinging water)

Why are not we aware,

That Baptism is more than a sacred rite of passage,

A one time event to be checked off the list

Baptism is God’s work!

We pause and return to the Gospel of Luke this morning,

Where there is this noticeable absence of John baptizing Jesus

And yet, Jesus is baptized,

By the Holy Spirit!

The same Holy Spirit that is present with us!

The same Holy Spirit that continues the journey with us!

What Good News in this advocate we have in the Holy Spirit

What Good News that because God Loved Us

As God Loves God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ

That in both being birthed into this life,

And carried out of this life

We are cradled by the healing life giving waters

Of Baptism

Because of God’s mercy and grace,

And I cannot stress enough God’s Love

Regardless of what relationships in our lives which sometimes

We break

Or break us

God’s presence NEVER FAILS US

And GOD’S BOND WITH US

GOD’S MARK UPON US

When we make the sign of the cross

In the waters of Baptism

It is our IDENTITY

AS GOD’S PEOPLE

STANDING IN THE LIGHT,

hearing the Creator clearly

“YOU are my Child,

Whom I love

With YOU

I am well pleased.”

(pause)

Thanks Be to God.

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