November 13, 2016

Baptism

 

Proper 28C

A Sermon Preached by The Rev Ian M Delinger on November 13, 2016

 

The Baptism of Zachary DiBiase

 

Today’s three readings sound like good training for the catechumen. We have Zachary being baptized and being told by Isaiah that God will make all things new. Paul tells Zachary how to live a fair and just Christian life. And Jesus tells Zachary not to worry about the evil that will be done in this world, but to looks toward the good that will come through Him.

 

These certainly form a firm foundation for a new catechumen and a new Christian, and Zachary, with the help of his parents and Godparents, should read, mark, learn and inwardly digest these teachings.

 

In Luke, Christ tells the people that life will be difficult – very difficult. But they are to take up their crosses and follow Christ to the face of God. And as Christ taught them, we, Zachary’s church family, need to teach him that it is God who will stand by him, own him, and assist him.

 

After the return from Babylon, all things will be made new for the Israelites. In Zachary’s lifetime, there will certainly be periods that feel like exiles or punishments. He, like us, will feel them on the global level, like the Cold War, the Great Recession or Manmade Climate Change. He will have exiles on a national level, like 9/11 or this tumultuous election cycle or a stalemate government. And Zachary will no doubt experience personal exiles…the types of which are too many to number, but which each of us has experienced.

 

We, his church family, are to be the ones to carry him through those times and to focus him on the new city, the new earth, the new Creation that will inevitably come.

 

The Christian community in Thessalonica was worried that those who had died would miss out on Christ’s return. But like Paul’s reassurance that they are to continue to live as faithful Christians, we, Zachary’s church family, are to support him on his spiritual journey, one that focuses on the hope of the Resurrection that teaches that death is not to be feared and is not the end.

 

We all take part in helping Zachary grow in stature and in grace. We do this by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

We perform the Sacrament of Baptism in the public service of worship because it takes the whole of the church family to bring up Zachary in Christ, for we are Christ’s Body.

 

Look back on your spiritual journey: Did you get here alone? I doubt it. Zachary’s parents and Godparents take on Zachary’s vows for him today. But we all need to play a role in supporting Zachary, in supporting Michael and Robin, and Godparents Matthew and Megan in bringing up Zachary into the fullness of Christ in which one day he takes on his Baptismal Vows for himself, in Confirmation.

 

The world is a scary place in which we as Christians know that Christ offers us hope that all things will be made new. In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, we share in the faith, hope and love that helps us know that, whatever is going on for us now, Christ is the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Zachary is today brought into the fold of that very same faith, hope and love.

 

Amen.

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