I’ve never been a posse kind of person. I’ve always only had one – maybe two really close friends at any time in my life. It was just enough to not feel excluded in society. Friendship is a delicate word. In our relationships, we count as friends those who’ve supported us when we needed it the most, spoke the truth when we needed to hear it and only a friend would let you know that you’ve hurt them. Not everyone will do that for us. I feel blessed that I can count as friend someone I’ve known since middle school, and a few I’ve known only within the past decade. The story of the paralytic being carried by four people and brought to Jesus to be healed at first seemed phenomenal to me. Then I remembered my faith community. Perhaps at the time the four coming together did not realize the power behind their action to carry the burden of this physically marginalized person. Particularly when the going is tough for us, it is an example of the strength of our friendship with Christ. When the posse scatters, a true faith community of friends will carry us through.
…all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.” Mark 2:1-12
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Gen. 8:22) There is always someone to be fed, someone to be clothed and someone to be comforted. Through us, God provides abundantly. Our blessings and gifts great and small are intended to be shared. Find someone to share them with everyday and God’s Love is continually released in the world.
If everything we do is done for God. there is no such thing as part-time.
1 John 3:16-24 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the worlds goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
1 Peter 4:10-11 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. For us, Baptism is the sacrament by which one is initiated into the Christian faith. It is the rite of the church that symbolizes the washing away of the old self, behaviors and beliefs, and the beginning of a life in Christ as a new creation. Many of us (including myself) who have taken this crucial step in our journey find that the old self isn’t necessarily washed away like the dirt from our clothes in a washing machine. It’s more like a process by which we learn what behaviors are self-destructive and which ones help us to live into Christ’s baptism, according to God’s Word. The process isn’t perfect nor is it full proof. Some days we find our selves putting on the old self, kind of like putting on dirty clothes, which of course has nothing to do with what is in our heart. It just means that others aren’t able to see the “new” you; the Christ, that God intended people to see. The rite itself is just the beginning. It is the first day we begin to understand the need to separate our selves from the darkness that is in the world. It is in fact a daily process that involves the entire community of faith and not merely a one-time miracle event. It may help to remember something my maternal grandmother once told me. If you wash your underwear out every night you always have a clean pair. Is baptism necessary? For me both figuratively and literally I say unequivocally yes.
New Creation; Baptized into Christ; Separating the Light from the darkness