Monday, August 27, 2012

Mark 1:9-11


Mark 1:9-11
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.  And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

I was baptized twice.  Baptized a second time by a United Methodist preacher!  (UMC doctrine states that one only needs to be baptized once because God is the one at work in the moment of baptism and hence it doesn't need to be "redone.")  I'm grateful for my Methodist pastor who saw a young girl who desperately needed the experience of baptism, one that I could remember, one in which I felt the cool water wash over my face, one in which I felt renewed.  My second baptism was an act of pastoral care, one in which I am thankful.

The funny thing was, I was disappointed because as I rose out of the water I did not hear God's voice calling out to me, "You are my daughter, my beloved; with you I am well pleased."  Nor did I feel any different.  Part of me wanted to begg Pastor Earl to do again because it didn't take, I was still me.  But I didn't, instead I put on a big smile, ate cake, and celebrated with the church ladies who'd come to watch.  Everyone was joyous and it was contagious, I forgot (mostly) about still being me and not hearing God's voice.

I've learned that Baptism is the beginning of a new life in Christ, the beginning of transformation.  Baptism is not a magic trick in which we become a new person who no longer has sinful thoughts, lust in the hearts, who is free from worldy desires.  Baptism is the moment in which God indeed says, "You are my beloved and with you I am well pleased."  Often though, it takes a while for us to hear it, to believe it.  Baptism sets us on the path of understanding just how deep and amazing God's love is.  It is one of the first steps we take rather than the end of the journey.  It was true for Jesus as well,  his baptism sets him off for a trek into the wilderness in which he is tempted--why should we be any different.

Even if you can't remember your baptism, remember that you are claimed by God, that you are the beloved and what you do with your life is a gift most pleasing to God.

 

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