Sunday, January 10, 2010
Reaffirmation of baptism @ Tinney Chapel
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Baptism: Something to remember.
On this second Sunday of Epiphany, Pastor Sue Gross read from Luke 3:15-17 and Luke 3:21-22 before preaching a sermon titled, I Have Been Baptized, then asking each member of the congregation to remember and reaffirm their own baptism.
To emphasize the seriousness and solemnity of this occasion, the Pastor provided a clear glass basin of seashells covered in water, some of which she had herself brought back from the Jordan River where Jesus The Christ was baptized by John The Baptizer in the Holy Land.
Baptism, reminded Pastor Sue, is not a requirement for Heaven, and not a requirement for Communion, but it is a requirement for membership in the Church. Baptism says that it is God who saves us, and not the water itself, which is just a symbol, including that water from the Jordan River.
Baptism, continued the Pastor, is a sign that we are a new people, that we have been given a new identity, that we now walk in the path of Jesus The Christ.
When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. occasionally doubted his own faith, said Pastor Sue, he is reported to have stood before a mirror and strengthened his faith by reciting the words: I have been baptized.
Even we, if we listen carefully, may hear the voice of God speak to us: You are God's Child!
He will not leave us alone.
What great news: I have been baptized.
Afterward, each member of the congregation lined up to approach the basin of seashells, covered with Jordan River water and take a shell for themselves. Last year at this same ceremony, most kept the shell as a treasure, marking it with the date of their reaffirmation of baptism. Doubtless most will do the same this year.