January 7, 2018 - Nico's Baptism
I have been looking forward to today for a long time! We get to baptize one of the most precious children of God, Nicolas Adrian Morales-Lopez, Nico.
Nico and I have a special bond, because they typically sit here near the front and he speaks to me during my sermons and gives me lots of sweet affirmation!
I have a feeling; my intuition say that this year is blessed. Every year is really but this year I can feel the Holy Spirit making some bold and daring moves with us. With us individually and us as this congregation, the body of Christ gathered.
I believe that this year we are all going to experience some serious epiphanies. Moments and experiences when truth is revealed in a way that opens us up to knowing God and ourselves more fully. This could be an exciting time.
And this world desperately needs a year of epiphanies, am I right?
Now here is the catch. Nothing will ever happen or change if we don’t act. Passivity never gets us anywhere. The Holy Spirit moves around us, and like a mighty wind encourages us to move and do and love and act. And we are afraid. And we anchor ourselves and root ourselves to the ground not wanted to be moved and changed. How can we be bold and risk to live the life God intends for us to live.
Let’s ask God to help us, shall we? Let’s look at what God might be telling us today through the words we have heard.
Jesus is baptized by John but this is unlike any other baptism John has ever done. Jesus goes down in the darkness of the water and as he is lifted up and as he comes out of the water and the sun hits his face the clouds move and the heavens are torn apart. Actually, if we look at the Hebrew translation it really says that the heaven was ripped open. And the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and God says, This Is my son the beloved with whom I am well pleased.
And when we are baptized into the life and resurrection of Jesus the same thing happens! The heavens are ripped open and God proclaims that you are his child whom he loves and with whom he is well pleased.
The barrier between God and humanity and no more. This is perhaps the most important epiphany that is the catalyst for all that is to take place next. As theologian Karoline Lewis says, it was God ripping apart that which we thought could separate us from God so as to be with us and one of us. And it would be God splitting open the grave so that death would never, ever, be the end.
Yes, it was God ripping apart that which we thought could separate us from God so as to be with and one of is.
I feel the same thing when we break the bread at the table that we are ripping apart all we think can separate us from God. When we break that bread, heaven is breaking forth into our atmosphere.
Sometimes we in liturgical churches can forget the awesome things God is doing with us. Our services are beautiful, with beautiful language, imagery, vessels and actions. Sometimes we take for granted what is happening when we do these things.
Literally the heavens are being ripped apart! And God is with us.
So, going back to my question: How can we be bold and risk to live the life God intends for us to live?
How can we let the Holy Spirit do her thing and turn this world right-side up the way God intended?
What part is God calling you and me to play in this movement?
How are we being called to be children of God in this hurting world? This world that separates itself from the love God and seeks to convince us that we are not worthy of God’s love and forgiveness and acceptance.
What if we are called to be this Epiphany for others?
What if we are called to be the ones who tear apart the boundaries that try to keep God from whom God loves? Who tear apart the boundaries that inhibit others from experiencing God’s grace? Who tear apart the boundaries constructed to determine who is saved and who isn’t? Yes, the world needs more epiphanies -- those of us ready to take on the responsibility of our baptism. – Karoline Lewis
This could be an exciting time! We are the ones we have been waiting for. Nico, you are the one we have been waiting for. Ginger you are the one we have been waiting for. Greg, you are the one we have been waiting for. Yes, we are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the ones this world has been waiting for.
I want to share a poem by a Hopi tribe elder:
You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the one wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
So how can we be bold and risk to live the life God intend us to live and be those epiphanies?
We must not cling to the shore and anchor ourselves in the place we have always been. We must let go and let God, the holy spirit, the current move us where they want us to go. We must not take anything personally least of all ourselves. We are in this together. Do life in a sacred manner and celebrate.
This could be an exciting time!
Now let’s do the most exciting thing, let’s baptize this child and rip open the heavens!