“God, who is rich in mercy and love, gives us a new birth into a living hope through the sacrament of baptism. By water and the Word God delivers us from sin and death and raises us to new life in Jesus Christ. We are united with all the baptized in the one body of Christ, anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and joined in God’s mission for the life of the world.” –Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 227.
Twenty seven years ago today, was Easter Sunday. It was my Uncle’s birthday. It was also the day I was baptized. On this date, 27 years ago, my parents dressed in their Easter best held me at the baptismal font. Mom was leading the choir and music that day, but even with the normal and wonderful busyness of Easter for worship leaders, my Mom and Dad also held me up and I was baptized by Grandpa in the sanctuary where he had preached and served as senior pastor for 20 years.
All of this context really isn’t that important for this reflection, but its fun to think about. Baptism is something special. Being baptized in the waters and promise on Easter Sunday I think is a special way to remember and connect what the promise, hope and joy of the resurrection really is. All of these have important implications for what it means to be a Child of God. All of these have important implications on vocation too.
Through baptism we are “joined in God’s mission for the life of the world.” This is vocation. Martin Luther would say our vocation (or vocations) is the point(s) at which we meet a need (or needs) of the world. Through baptism then we are in a way united and even called into these lives and vocations. We are freed to live these lives and serve these vocations with the knowledge and promise of “new life in Jesus Christ.” And “we are united with all the baptized in the one body of Christ.” This means that we are part of something far bigger and wider than ourselves.
Our God is a BIG God. Our God is an expansive God. This is what Holy Week and Easter are all about. Any expectations or limitations we put on God, God overcomes and transcends.
- Human expectation would lead one to believe that to be a King means to be powerful. God transcends this through Jesus with the message that being a true king and leader means to serve.
- Human expectation would lead one to think that God would condemn and seek vengeance for those who put him on the cross. In fact, God does the exact opposite as Jesus actually asks God to forgive them and to forgive us.
- Human expectation would led one to believe that to be enclosed in an unbreakable tomb would mean just that. But God breaks out. (Similar to if God was put in one of our human composed or imagined boxes. “God doesn’t fit in a box.”)
- Human expectation would be that death is final. God overcomes this by living, and death loses its sting and stronghold.
These are just a few examples, but you get the point. As we wait, and journey through today, Holy Saturday into tonight think about these examples. If you experience either the Easter Vigil and/or Easter Sunrise, you will have opportunity to reflect on this further. What does it mean to be baptized? How does baptism connect to the promises of God? How do you see God being a BIG God?
Until tomorrow, remember this portion of Thanksgiving from the Holy Baptism order of worship:
“We give you thanks, O God, for in the beginning your Spirit moved over the waters and by your Word you created the world, calling forth life in which you took delight. Through the waters of the flood you delivered Noah and his family, and through the sea you led your people Israel from slavery into freedom. At the river your Son was baptized by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit. By the baptism of Jesus’ death and resurrection you set us free from the power of sin and death and raise us up to live in you.” –Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 230.