Baptism, crucifixion and beyond

How in the world did it get to be Thursday already? No matter, it is, and I am trying to keep focused on Sunday’s baptism. In perusing what has past, and what’s to come I’m noticing that most of what I’d think of as distractions are not. For example, yesterday I was blessed to serve Thanksgiving Dinner to the folks of Abilities Unlimited for several hours, last night I spent two hours with several parishioners engaged in the church’s Reimaging survey, tonight I’ll be at the Charitable Clinic for four or five hours; all of these are baptismal activities. Only one is directly related to church, but then again our baptismal responsibilities are explicitly beyond the church. Activities that are beyond the church are a reflection of Luke’s Gospel account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

When one of the two criminals shouts at Jesus: Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us! he is expressing the expected behavior of a messiah, or any leader expected to save his people. Jesus’ refusal to act in expected ways, i.e. his telling the other criminal: … today you will be with me in Paradise. and giving himself to death should not be a surprise. Little of Jesus’ ministry and teaching is expected, at least in his day, and we are jaded by post resurrection expectations.  And since a significant aspect of our Baptismal Theology, we are baptized into Jesus’ death, and to his resurrection, we should not expect baptismal responsibilities to be anything other than the unexpected, even two millennia later.

 Celebrating Ray’s baptism Sunday is only a beginning. Real work begins Monday as we work to fulfill our commitment to support him in his life in Christ. [i]  As we know, that life is to be unexpected. What I am wrestling with is not that yesterday’s activities, or even Tuesday’s Executive Council, are baptismal, but that I intentionally commit to, and participate in them, as an exercise of Baptismal responsibility. 

For the moment I will ponder Baptism beginning in Jesus’ crucifixion and moving beyond all expectations.

 


[i] Book of Common Prayer, 303

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