Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Reboot! (Reflections on the Baptism of Our Lord, 2021)


You have to love New Year’s, right? I mean, it always seems like a new beginning no matter how crappy the previous year has been. You make a toast, kiss your honey, look at the clock and say, “It’s twelve-o-two and nothing terrible has happened yet. So far, it’s been a pretty good year!” 

You may feel the same way when you start a new job or move to a new home or begin a new relationship. The newness always offers promise. It’s kind of like when a baby is born. You hold that little person in your arms and say, “She hasn’t trash-talked me or disobeyed me yet.” Or, “He hasn’t dropped out of school to join a metal band yet.” Or, “She hasn’t hooked up with a creepy dude with a neck tattoo yet.” Or, “I haven’t had to put him in rehab yet.”

 No. When that child is born, that child is perfect. Everything about the child is good and promising and joyful and pure.

 I think this is how God feels in our First Lesson for the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (Genesis1:1-5). God spoke light and all creation into existence and decided it was pretty darn good. Later, in our Gospel text (Mark 1:4-11), as Jesus is baptized, God again declares this is good. In fact, God calls his baptized child “beloved” and the one with whom God is “well pleased.”

 You see, God really loves what God has made, and there is nothing God has made which didn’t start out as good in God’s eyes. Our faith teaches us that when we were baptized, God declared us good. Baptism, according to Martin Luther in the Small Catechism,

 “…signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned through daily sorrow for sin and repentance, and that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

 Isn’t that good news?

 What’s even better is knowing your baptism has an eternal guarantee. As Lutherans, we don’t ask anyone to be re-baptized when they join our congregation after having been baptized elsewhere. You don’t get baptized as a Lutheran or as a Roman Catholic or as any other Christian denomination. You are baptized into the Triune God. Period. Your membership in the fellowship of all Christians never expires or has to be renewed. At any time in your personal cage match with the temptations, irritations, frustrations, and outright tragedies of being a human being on planet Earth you can hit the reset button and know that you were created good and God’s forgiving, loving grace was meant for you. All you need do is believe it. 

May the Holy Spirit bless you in this New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment