Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-20, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51
We learn three things from our lessons this week about baptism.
A life baptized is a life of freedom;
It is a life renewed—continually renewed (over and over) by God;
And it is life of journey with God that is absolutely something to experience.
In baptism we are free. A life baptized is a life of freedom. Paul says, “all things are lawful for me.” Yet, as Paul ran into with Corinth, not all things are good. We get trapped when God’s grace is trusted upon to cover for things that bring no good to self nor neighbor. St. Paul had to write a few letters to remind the saints in Corinth that our freedom from the law is not a license to go around sinning.
Our freedom is for the neighbor. MLK Jr. was one of those rare souls who knew that our freedom was meant to make the world a better place, to take the side of those who are having a more difficult time than ourselves. He knew that freedom is for, instead of looking out for ourselves, coming together as a human race and uplifting one another.
His most memorable illustration was his proclamation of one of Jesus’ parables. His point was that there comes a time when we are called to upset the system, to break the rules, in order to help our neighbor in need. Our Christian freedom is best used when working for the good of our neighbor in need. And Jesus did this many times, too, in the gospels, and got in some trouble for it.
A life baptized is a life of freedom. A baptized life is also a life of renewal. It’s in remembering our baptism that we draw upon and remember the forgiveness and new life we receive from God—every day. Baptism affects you every day of your life. In it, daily, you are made new; daily you are forgiven of sin; daily you are called “beloved”. God gives the renewal you need to live in that Christian freedom for the good of all those around you.
It’s a life of freedom, a life of renewal, and Finally, a baptized life is a life of journey.
God is active in the world. God is working, even now, to make all things new, right, and whole in this broken world.
We just celebrated Christmas, where we recognize that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, “God-among-us”. He is the restorer and savior of the world. In baptism, we take on a discipleship under Jesus Christ. We enter a life of following him. Following Jesus is a journey that involves getting to know him better and better. On this journey we know him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day.
And it has to be a journey, it involves real experience. When Phillip was telling Nathanael about Jesus—that he was The One—Nathanael didn’t understand. Philip urged him, “come and see.”
To enter a relationship, to really know Christ, you must “come and see.”
The invitation is for all—regardless of whether or not you think you’re worthy. God says you are. Baptism is our entrance into a life of following Christ. Here we receive a life of freedom, a life of renewal, and we enter a life of journey with Christ.
Come and see at the font, in the waters of rebirth.
Come and see at the table, where Christ is, promising himself for you.
Come and see all around you, where Christ is restoring the world—among our neighbors and those most in need.
Come and see