Theme: Creation Time
Sunday September 16, 2018
Sermon: New Life & Baptism
Our Creation Time theme this morning celebrates new life! And what could be more perfect than the celebration of baptism! We celebrate our family of God – new babies, young children, teens and adults and seniors all together – we believers united with one another and God our Maker, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. We have read how Jesus has taken a little child in his arms and he has told us that whoever welcomes a child in his name, welcomes him. From the littlest to the oldest, despite who is considered first or last, we are all welcomed in the name of Christ into God’s family.
Baptism changes our life – it represents invitation, affirmation, and transformation. Baptism is an open invitation to join the Christian church, to be affirmed as a child of God in relationship with our Creator, and baptism transforms us. We are meant to be a transformed people. God’s Spirit breathes new life into our lives and the life of all members in the faith – we share this journey together.
In a Christian book called Leading Through the Water, its author Paul Galbreath describes the baptismal life as the “water way” – isn’t that a great description of a baptismal life? The Water Way. Baptism signifies a lifelong journey which we share with one another – male/female, rich/poor, young/old, educated/uneducated – it doesn’t matter when it comes to the baptismal life. There are no boundaries. We are side by side. And there is no graduation date within this baptismal life – it is a lifelong journey. You are baptized only once in your life – all denominations and the Roman Catholic Church affirm this – but baptism is not confined to a single moment in time. As we grow and develop and live as a baptized people, living The Water Way, we learn to pray, to serve, to carry each other’s burdens, to discern our gifts, and share the good news of the gospel with each other and our world.
Baptism is an act whereby our lives are absorbed into the life of Christ. As Christ was resurrected, we are resurrected too, with hope and the gift of new life. From death to life. From the old, to the new. It is an enactment of rebirth. As a baptized people, we are meant to be changed. Transformed. If the Spirit is alive and active within us, it will be evident in our Christian life.
The prophet Malachi, prophesying roughly 400 B.C., predicts the coming of the Messiah. Malachi says in 3: 1- 3: “The Lord you are seeking will come, the messenger of the covenant, says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire…He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” The messenger of the covenant refers to the Messiah, and Jesus called himself the Messiah. What does a refiner of silver do? A silversmith holds a piece of silver in the middle of a fire, where the flames are the hottest, to burn away all impurities. The silver has to be watched the entire time in the fire, because, if left too long in the flames, it will be destroyed. The silversmith knows when the silver is fully refined when they can see their image in it.
Does Jesus the Messiah, our refiner, see his image in us?
In living out our baptisms, The Water Way, we are signs of Christ in our world. We are given a birthright, new life, to live as witnesses to the good news that God’s grace has come to us in Jesus, that Christ’s Spirit is active and living within us to change us, renew us, transform us, purify us, into his image, so that we can be used by him to reflect his love and hope and peace and joy to all people.
May we be transformed, literally, into the image of Christ, and purified by God in the fire of our daily life – may we reflect the image of Christ to be a blessing to others. Amen. Re