We are named and claimed in our baptism. Which means baptism is about identity. I love when we hear directly from God in the Bible because you know it is important. In the baptismal story of Jesus — a voice from heaven speaks and says to Jesus: “You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Baptism teaches us who we are – God’s beloved children –baptism makes real for us the promise of God’s unconditional love for us. Knowing that I am named, claimed and cared for is an awesome thing!! Knowing that there is nothing that I have to do to get that is just as amazing.
The truth is, that this is a constant from the moment we are baptized until the day we die. Something constant like that is not so common anymore.
More and more we have become a society, a culture where we change jobs frequently, most of us have lived in different houses, cities event states, we are seeing fewer families remain intact long term – No longer can I say we are the McGarry Family from Rutland, Vermont.
I live here in Gardner, and before that New York and Philadelphia, one of my brothers lives in Florida and there are other McGarry’s scattered throughout the United States. This has caused a loss of identity for my family and many others who experience the same thing, So what is my family identity? More and more we are individuals trying to figure out who we are, where we belong.
In response to this need, baptism reminds us that we discover who we are in relation to whose we are, God’s beloved children. We belong to God’s family, and baptism is a tangible sign of that.
You are a loved and beloved child of God. You are a part of God’s family — the great thing about that is, it does not matter if you were baptized at Faith Lutheran Church, First, Covenant, Bethel or Immanuel — It doesn’t matter if you were baptized in a Lutheran Church, Catholic or Methodist. You are a part of the family of God.
There are only two things that you need for baptism.
Water and the Word of God.
When we combine Water with the word of God something special happens. We are creating space for the holy spirit to come and bless us.
In fact, it’s the same Spirit that baptizes us! I can’t claim any credit for and baptisms because Baptism, is God’s work — God ensures that no matter how often we fall short or fail, nothing that we do, or fail to do, can remove the identity that God gives as a gift.
Our relationship with God, is the one relationship in life we can’t screw up — we may have family members that we are estranged from, we may have a failed marriage or may no longer talk to our high school or college friends. But God is there for us, God is there with us always. No matter how much we try to neglect this relationship, deny it, run away from it, ignore it, we cannot destroy it, for God loves us too deeply and completely to ever let us go.
In an age when so many relationships are fragile or tattered, it may come as good news that this primary relationship remains solid and intact no matter what. In fact, trusting that this relationship is in God’s hands, we are freed to give ourselves wholly and completely to the other important relationships in our lives.
That is exactly why Jesus was baptized — to build a relationship with us.
But most importantly, in this moment, this washing, Jesus identifies Himself with sinners. As John’s baptism symbolized our turning towards Christ, so for Jesus it symbolizes His turning towards us. Jesus has come, to save the entire world from our sins. He joins us in the pool of repentance, in the waters where we seek the face of God, descending to us when we could not rise up to Him.
Later on—after three years of ministry, three years of preaching and healing, of working signs and wonders—Jesus is Crucified both for us and by us. He dies on the Cross and as promised, on the Third Day — rises again. In His death, He shatters all barriers between God and Man.
In His Resurrection, He raises us all up to life in Him.
Such an amazing thing– this does not just happen on a Sunday morning, but whenever we encounter water we have an opportunity to remember our baptism. Every time we wash our face, take a shower, go swimming. Anytime we are surrounded by water and our thoughts and hearts go to the one who created us, the one who loves us and the one who died on the cross for us. Jesus Christ our Savior.
“Remember that in Baptism you have been marked by the sign of the cross, sealed by the Holy Spirit, and sent into the world to share God’s love in word and deed.”
To listen to the whole sermon click on the link below.