Happy New Year! You know I’ve been so busy the past couple weeks, that I’ve completely forgotten that it we celebrated the coming of the New Year this past week. By “we”, I mean society in general, as personally I was in the shower, getting ready for bed at around midnight that day.
That seems like the story of my life for the past 9 years. Actually, it seems like the story of all the lives of my friends who have young kids like I do. But before kids? The story was pretty different. Looking at the spirits of New Year’s past, I remember how my friends and I would hop from different party to party looking for the best place to celebrate what really is an arbitrary point in time. But hey, we just liked to have fun.
Before we were of the age of independence though, we would stay at someone’s house, usually over night, playing video games or watching movies. And before that? We just stayed home with my parents, who were probably thinking about their spirits of New Year’s past and how they used to celebrate… before kids.
The point of all this isn’t to complain, as much as it might sound like it. But the point is that at different stages of life we seem to do things differently with each other. Different things join us together as a community to celebrate, and even how we celebrate brings us together. It is the things we have in common that give us that sense of connectedness, reminding us that we aren’t so alone in the universe.
Baptism is a way for us in the church to remind us of our connectedness. Not just as something we have in common, but how we, as human, need certain basics for survival. Food, of course is one of them (intentionally addressed by another sacrament we observe in the church), and water (among a few others). Water of course is the agent we use in baptism, but let us not forget what else is involved, as so aptly described in the gospel reading, the baptism of Jesus.
Not only is there water, but the presence of God and the Spirit is there, in the form of a voice and a physical bird respectively. This tells us that who we are, what we can do, even what we are made of are all very intentional, and God and the Spirit flow through us and around us throughout our lives.
And the other, not always held up in this story, is the people gathered around witnessing what is happening. This tells us that baptism isn’t a private event. Our lives aren’t meant to be lived in isolation. We are created to be in community and relationship with each other. And, as such, we are all connected by various ways and the least of which most certainly isn’t our baptism. With all who are baptized, we remember how we are all called, invited, and welcomed into God’s family, God’s kingdom, and God’s community.
Along with Jesus, who was baptized as well.
And we, too, are brought into life with the Spirit, with God, and of course with Jesus, to live together in celebration with all that God has done and promises to do, lifting us up in hope and peace as we are redeemed by God’s gracious salvation. Thanks be to God!
Have a great week everyone!