I don’t know in the blog world if there is a threshold that you pass through when you get to your 100th post. Granted about 1/3 of my posts were put in here from journals that I kept but those thoughts were private but now shared with the world. Or as I like to call now my “dark days” — I am sure at some point on my junior year of college I was in some sort of depressed state but I never admitted to it. Perhaps I was in one on and off throughout my time at Luther. who knows? All I know is that I am at a better place now which is good.
Back update– My back is feeling better which is good. It is not 100% and I have my moments when I feel like I am going to collaps or like last night after I read Logan his bedtime stories….I was lying on our bed and then when I went to bring him to his bed I could not move. I had to have Katie come and help me up. But overall it is okay.
I went to the doctor’s on Monday and I was sent for xrays and from that I was told that the spacing in my lower back are closing in. This can be helped by losing weight and doing physical therapy. As most of you know I am trying to lose weight and I start physical therapy next week. The biggest issue is finding a place where my crappy seminary insurance doesn’t pay for much so we will see what I can do and how long I can do it for.
Cinch update- I can say with certainity that I have been doing good on Cinch so far. I am eating what I need to be eating and I am not cheating. The only two obsticles I have found is night time eating and taking my 3 in one boost. I am not good about remembering to taking my cinch vitamin for breakfast and lunch. I take all my vitamins at dinner time and I can remember that, so that’s were I am with that.
I would like to end with a brief outline of my baptismal and church unity quiz. We had to write about John the baptist and his role in the formation of Jesus’ ministry. It was 45 min of typing which was good, but not finished work. I was happy with how it came out.
In the opening verses of Mark we read about a proclamation from the prophet Isaiah about the coming of Jesus. As we know from scripture Jesus is the New Adam – the one who is coming to us to cleanse the sins of the world. This proclamation is not only found in Scripture but we are introduced to John the Baptist, who is also proclaiming “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”(Mark 1: 4) John the Baptist was making a name for himself and people from all around Judea were coming to see him and hear what he has to say. We read in the Gospel of Mark that John started to talk about the difference between him and the one who is to come (Jesus). While John baptized people with water, Jesus will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. While people were elated about this news, the coming of the promised Messiah, early Christians find this news disturbing. This news raised questions by early Christians. The ministry of Jesus was originally connected with the preaching and baptism of John. Does this news negate all that John had done? Is Jesus a replacement for John? Of course we know the answer to that, Jesus is the Son of God but what does Jesus’ baptism say about the ministry of John?
What intrigues me is the interaction (or lack thereof) between Jesus and John. In the Gospel of Mark there is no interaction told between Jesus and John. We read about John and what he has done and what he is doing. Then we jump right into the actual baptism of Jesus. The next thing we read about is Jesus going into the Wilderness where Satan tempts him. Was this to show the power of baptism in our lives? Whatever happened between Jesus and John? I would think that Jesus would have been grateful for the gift that John has given him. Perhaps he was but from Marks point of view we are not sure.
We get a little more interaction between Jesus and John in the Gospel of Matthew. It seems that Jesus knew the hesitation that John would have had baptizing him so Jesus said to John “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”(Matthew 3: 15) Jesus knew he had to be baptized by someone and he knew it had to be John. Later in Matthew, when Jesus is giving the “great commission” we find the Trinitarian formula (granted the church could of put this in at a later date but that’s another essay). Jesus tells his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here baptism is seen as a process, something that we are all to go through. Jesus uses this Trinitarian formula for the first and only time. When Jesus talks about all nations he is opening up the world to see baptism and faith in general beyond the walls of Jew and Gentile. Jesus is inclusive in his message to men and women, children and adults, old and young. This is a new beginning and a new commitment to faith.
In Luke John links the baptism of Jesus with the coming of the Kingdom of God. John’s baptism is a rite of moral purification designed to prepare those submitting to it for the approaching kingdom of God. This is different than the other Gospels. We can see Luke’s focus on the poor coming out in what John was preaching. He was emphasizing the need for repentance and this was shown by how we treat the poor.
In Luke chapter 12 verse 50 and following we see that Jesus is talking about baptism in a different way. We see that Jesus is angry in this section and he talks about baptism in dividing families and that the pure are left behind. At this point in the Gospels Jesus knows what he is facing and he is talking about a new baptism – a baptism on the cross of Calvary. This is where the complete cleansing comes; this is where Jesus is asking for a total commitment, this is a new beginning for everyone.
In the Gospel of John we see more of a disconnect between John and Jesus. We clearly see in verses 30 and following in chapter one that John is talking about the baptism and how important it was and then the next thing we know, John’s Disciples left John and became the inner circle of Jesus. This brought disconnect between the two and even perhaps started a “rivalry” between John and Jesus. In the other gospels, we have water, which is from John and the spirit with Jesus. But in chapter 3 verse 5 we have water and spirit that is directly associated with Jesus’ teaching. We have a major shift or emphasis towards Jesus, and nothing about John baptizing. When we read about Jesus baptizing the disciples we see that this is different than the other Gospels because they are not in the river Jordan and there is no mention of the trinity or really any information to give us a closer view of what was happening.
The biggest element for me when looking at John’s baptism and the baptism of Jesus is how all of this culminates to the cross and especially communion. If through baptism we are lead by the Holy Spirit to Christ we are one in the church. The communion that is the church can be described as a communion in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit given within baptism. It almost seems like we cannot have one (baptism or Communion) without the other. The biggest symbol of this found in the Gospel of John is in verse 34 of chapter 19 when the soldier came up to Jesus and pierced his side with the spear and blood and water poured out of Jesus. Blood and water – the elements used in baptism and communion. One might think that they are found in the human body but for this detail from the writer of John is used because of the sacramental symbolism.
We have lots of scripture to use when we talk about baptism in the church. I only hope that as a united church we can use this scripture not to divide us but to unite us in one baptism through Jesus Christ. Perhaps one day we can see the significance of a united church with a total commitment to proclaiming the Gospel, we can see a cleansing of the church between our indifferences and we can start from a new beginning united in the love of God and we can work together for the greatness of the world.