Jan13

Baptized!

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The Baptism of Our Lord

Baptized!

        Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and His only Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

        There is a special bond between a parent and their child. Whether it be Father or Mother, that child knows the sound of their voice and the call of their name.

        The voice of the parent gives comfort and love. The child is calmed by the soothing tones from the Mother or Father. The parent knows the cry of their child as well. Out of a group of children laughing and playing, the parent recognizes the troubled cry of a single child instantly.

        I remember quite well the voice of my mother when she would call me home for dinner. In whatever I was occupied, the sound of her voice would get my attention. And with that special bond, I could discern a tone of urgency, joy or anger.

        You all know what I’m talking about. When my mother was angry, I could tell by her voice. When she used all three of my names, I knew she was really angry.

        Just as a parent can pick out the cry of their child in a crowded, noisy space, a child can pick out their parents voice from a distance. This bond between child and parent is known throughout the realm of children. It is such a strong connection that even other children can differentiate the tenor of other kid’s parents. I remember playing with my friends in the back yard of a neighbor. Playing as children do, we were having fun laughing and yelling at one another, when one of my friends says to me, “Hey, your mother is calling you.”

        “Are you sure it was my mom?” I ask, knowing I should never doubt the veracity of the parent child bond to know whose mother is whose.

        “Yeah, it was your mom and the way she called your name means you need to get home right away!”

        We can all relate to a parent or person in authority letting their pleasure or anger known through how they use our names and how they speak. Our names can be connected to praise, punishment and recognition. When our parents gave us our names, they were identifying us as a member of their family. They were telling your siblings and the rest of the world, that you belonged to them and that this is the name by which you will be recognized.

        When you are in trouble, a parent will rescue you. They will kill the spider that frightens you or help you down from a tree in which you have climbed to high. They protect you from dangers before, during and after. Many times, they shield the child from harm using the strength of their own bodies. They comfort you when you are sick. They fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself.

        Moreover, when you break the law of the household, the law of the land and even the law of God, they still love you. They may not be pleased with you, but they still love you. Because of this love, the child is forgiven time after time, in hopes he or she will return to the right path.

        Now think about all the times in your past, or even in the present, where you have defied your mother or cursed your father only to find that you were wrong. Think of the times where they loved you to the point of being hurt themselves.

        In an imperfect world, we must sometimes guide our children to the correct path even if they rebel. We look out for our fellow human beings whether they are members of our family or not. We do this in even if it hurts us in order to show the love shown to us by our heavenly Father. If a child were in trouble to great from which to extricate themselves, like climbing too far out on the high limb of a tree, any earthly father would help his children knowing the child was the cause of their own trouble.

        This is the same love our Father in heaven shows His children here on earth. We defy Him every day in our sin. We run away from His grace so that we will not have to face His displeasure. As foolish children, we think we know better than He. We think we do not need His forgiveness.

        We climb higher and higher only to find ourselves stuck on a weak branch ready to break and plunge to our deaths. It is in times such as this when we call out for help.

        Thankfully, our Father knows our voice. He is the one who created us. He calls us by our name letting everyone know we belong to Him. He does this through our baptism.

        When we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, His name becomes our name. We become members of His family with all the promises of that inheritance. His love does not stop when we sin against his will. He continues to love His children and forgives us time after time, in hopes that we will return to the right path.

        When you are in trouble, He will rescue you. He will protect you from dangers before, during and after. Many times, He shields you from harm using the strength of His own hand. He comforts you when you are sick. He fights for you when you cannot fight for yourself.

        In the book of Isaiah, He tells us:

      “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

      I have called you by your name;

      You are Mine.

            When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

      And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.

      When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,

      Nor shall the flame scorch you.

            For I am the Lord your God,

      The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

      Since you were precious in My sight,

      You have been honored, [Is. 43:1-4a]

      Everyone who is called by My name,

      Whom I have created for My glory;

      I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” [Is. 43:7]

        God so loves His creation, His children, that He sent His only Son into our midst, not only to tell us His will, but to redeem us from our sin. Jesus Christ took our sin from us. He took that sin to the grave and raised himself up again after three days, so that our sin, death and the devil could no longer have any power over us.

        This is truly good news, because, as the Apostle Paul says, “…if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” [Rom. 6:5]       We know this to be true because God called His Son from heaven saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” [Luke 3:22b] In addition, all the witnesses at Jesus’ baptism heard his father. They recognized His voice and through that special bond of father and son, they knew He was pleased.

        For all of us this means his father is now our father. Through our baptism, we have died to sin and are no longer a slave to that sin. We now have the special connection that all children have to our Father in heaven.

        He has called us by our full name through the name of Jesus Christ. As good and faithful children, we are to follow the Law of His household. We are to love our brothers and sisters as God so loves us. We are to forgive our brothers and sisters as God eternally forgives us.

        It is true that we may wander away from our Father. We may be so caught up in the childish play of this world, that we lose track of our Father’s wishes. Alternatively, we may find ourselves in a position of turmoil or trouble so great that we become afraid and unable to remove ourselves from this trouble.

        In times like these, we are best to follow our Savior in prayer. We are to call upon the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knows His children’s voice. He has already redeemed us. We have been baptized into the name above all names.

Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [Rom. 6:9-11]

        We have no need to fear the Lord our God, The Holy One of Israel, our Savior. You are precious in His sight. You have been honored and He loves you.

Amen

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