Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 11

I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Mark 1: 8

Water. That is the theme for today.

In churches around the world, today is the Sunday in which Jesus' baptism will be celebrated. Many times there is an actual baptism. At other times, the congregation thankfully remembers their baptism. Water is a symbol of God's outpouring power and grace.

Meanwhile, around here lakes, rivers and creeks are flowing across roadways. Bridges may be damaged and property may be destroyed. Water in these cases is not just dangerous but deadly.

Water helps to provide new growth but can also be destructive. Many environmentalists also tell us that water may someday be more precious than oil in our economy. The Bible tells of many stories about water - some positive and some negative. Water brings us life and death.

John understands that his use of water is for washing away sins - a baptism of repentance. He knows that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit - a gift from God. Baptism itself can be cleansing but John seems to indicate that Jesus brings us more than forgiveness of our sins. Jesus brings us a new way of being. We are no longer just forgiven but we are gifted with power from above in order to do amazing things in and through our lives. Baptism brings forgiveness and power.

Come, Holy Spirit! Amen.

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