In pm's words
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November 16, 2015, 9:00 AM

the one where we need the reminder...


Sermon from November 15, 2015

Sermon Text: Mark 13: 1-8

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

At first glance, the lessons that we heard this morning don’t appear to be what we’d want to hear on the day that we celebrate a baptism. We read of wars and rumors of wars. We read of birth bangs. We read of suffering.

Instead, it seems like these are texts that go hand-in-hand with the news and images we saw yesterday as Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad were subject to unthinkable acts of horror and terror. Our hearts and prayers are lifted up for those affected by these atrocities. We pray and hope that God works through these times and that God is present with those in the midst of this tragedy.

So, why would we want to hear about all that Jesus talks about today when we have a beautiful baby to look at as she is splashed with water in the name of the triune God? Shouldn’t the readings we hear on the day of a baptism be about happy things and how great the life of a Christian will be and should be?

One of the things that we have to remember as we live the life of faith that we have been gifted – the life of faith that has been poured into us in our baptisms and will be poured into Ainsleigh as she is baptized – is that we are a resurrection people.

We believe and proclaim new and renewed life in and through our God. But, there’s this particular thing about living into a resurrection life – you have to have a death first. In order for something to be raised to new life – the old self has to die and fall away.

So, when we are baptized, we believe that the old self – the self that clings to the sin in our life – to the ways that are not of God – dies away and when we are lifted out of those waters; when those waters wash over us, a new person – a new creation – emerges. A new creation welcomed into the life and community of God. That new creation where God looks down from on high and says, “THIS IS GOOD! Look at my beloved right here!”

In this baptism – in all of our baptisms – God’s work is forever. This is all the baptism she will ever need. And there are many who hear that who are outside our tradition of the church and think that that is a little strange. You see, in baptism God is at work – we are the recipients of God’s wondrous love and grace through these waters. And when God makes a promise – God doesn’t break that promise. God doesn’t abandon the ones who God has made a covenant with. Even with the night seems so dark, we remember that God’s promise holds true, that those waters that washed over us – that will wash over Ainsleigh – is still true and full of grace.

As we were all welcomed into the community and life of God – just as Ainsleigh will be – we journeyed into this life of faith knowing that it wouldn’t be easy. That there would be struggle – struggle that we hear from Jesus’ own lips this morning and that struggle lived out in the lives of many this weekend.

Being witness to that struggle – even when removed by thousands of miles – we need the reminder of baptism. We need to be witness to this event and to remember that event in our lives so many years ago. We need that reminder that God is present here in our lives. We need that reminder that all is not lost. We need that reminder that the light still shines and the darkness will not overcome it. We need that reminder that God is at work. At work in our lives and at work around the world.

At times that work is so hard to see – such as it is now for us and for those in France. Baptism reminds us again and again that God has been and will continue to be at work.

We remember that in baptism that God has reached down to be with us. That we are washed and cleansed as we are – as Ainsleigh will be – welcomed into this family and community of God. That as we all make promises this day and remember the promises that we have made we know that we do not do this alone.

We are baptized into something far greater and far more wondrous than just ourselves – than just this small portion of the entire body of Christ. In baptism we are welcomed into the entire kingdom – the entire body. We become a part of this great litany of saints that has been going on for over 2000 years and will continue to be in growth until the day that Christ returns to bring peace to the world.

Until that day, we know that there will be struggles. There will be hardships. But, we know that we do not endure it alone. We gather in prayer and in service with and for one another. We seek justice and peace not as lone rangers amidst a seemingly crazy world, but as a community and family of God working together so that all are welcomed at the tables of the world and our lives.

Some days it will be easy to remember and to see God at work. Some days it will be very difficult. Yet, we know that we don’t do this alone. Ainsleigh will have her mom and dad, she’ll have her family, she will have us. We too – as we remember our baptism – know that we are not alone. We have one another and even those we’ve never met.

We strive to show that there is another way than what those in the world might exclaim. In our baptisms we know that we are not alone – we need to remember that more than anything this day as our world continues to move forward after such a heinous crime committed by outliers of a faith that promotes peace.

We need that reminder as we are witness to this baptism this morning.

We get be a witness and a part of Ainsleigh being welcomed into this community – to be washed and welcomed – into the family of God. To tell her – and to remind ourselves at the same time – that this story is her story too. It is our story.

We get to remember that in our baptism – hope is not lost. The light does cast out the darkness. That we are welcomed. We are forgiven. We are accepted. We are sent to live out life as Christ to others. Being in service. Loving those around us. Proclaiming Christ to all.

We listen and worship this day knowing that we are a part of something much larger than ourselves. Most importantly – we are reminded that we are a part of something and that something is the life and love of God!

So, let us remember – it is here that we remember that all is not lost, light defeat darkness, and that God is present with us. We are washed, we are welcomed, we are forgiven. Christ will rise. Amen.

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