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getting out the WORD - the baptism of our lord
Written by Pastor Bob   
Thursday, 11 January 2018 13:54

the PRAYER...
Holy God, creator of light and giver of goodness, your voice moves over the waters. Immerse us in your grace, and transform us by your Spirit, that we may follow after your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:4-11

On a whim, I took a closer look, this week, at the order of baptism in our "new" hymnal. Five pages. A little over twenty-three hundred words. And not once was the word 'repentance' used! That surprised me. Because I've always thought of "our" baptism as an echo of what happened that day in the Jordan. But apparently, not!

John's was a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." It was admitting we did things we shouldn't have done. Fessing up to the things we should have that we didn't. Feeling sorry! Promising never to do it again.

But "our" baptism is different. It's being immersed into the cross and the empty tomb! Being inundated with Good Friday and Easter! And there's no repenting to it! "In baptism," we're told, "our gracious heavenly Father frees us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!"

Yes, there's water - in John's baptism and in ours. And yes, in both, someone gets wet. But for us, baptism is one thing and one thing alone; it's being marked with the cross of Christ... FOREVER!

Bob Barndt, pastor

getting out the WORD - the third sunday of advent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 20 December 2017 11:41

the PRAYER...
Stir up the wills of your faithful people, Lord God, and open our ears to the words of your prophets, that, anointed by your Spirit, we may testify to your light; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

John 1:6-8 , John 1:19-28

Like I've said before, John - the gospel-writer - marches to a different beat. He tells the story of Jesus like all the rest, but he tells it his own way. Take, for instance, this week's reading...

In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, John is identified as "the baptizer." Never in the gospel according to. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the baptizer proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin. Not so in the book of John. In Matthew and Luke, the baptizer preaches an axe at the roots and a winnowing fork in hand. In John's good news, not a word is written.

In the 'fourth' gospel, John - "the baptizer" - has one purpose and one purpose alone. Not proclaiming unquenchable fire. Or for that matter, even baptizing. It's to witness! To testify! To point at Jesus and say, "Behold! God's Lamb! The one who takes away the sin of the world!" And we - the church - do the same. NOT make threats! NOT issue ultimatums! NOT, even, exhort people to bear fruit. Sharing the extra. Collecting no more. Refusing to extort! We're here, simply, to point at Jesus! Point at Jesus and tell the world, "This is the one!" And Jesus takes it from there!

Bob Barndt, pastor

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