Monday, June 2, 2014

Baptism is Bigger Than You Think

If you had to name the three biggest feasts in the Church year, I think there would be little argument - they are Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.

Don't know why, but it occurred to me today that Baptism is linked to all three.

Christmas is the incarnation of the Son of God as a son of man; in Holy Baptism we sons of men are made sons of God. He is born here below, we are born from above (John 3:3).

Easter is the resurrection of our Lord; in Holy Baptism the old Adam in us is drowned and a new man raised up. Or as Paul puts it in Romans (6:5): in Holy Baptism, we are joined to Christ in His death and resurrection.

Pentecost is the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church; in Holy Baptism the Spirit is given to us through water and the Word (Acts 2:38).

So perhaps we could say that Holy Baptism gives us the whole Christ - from birth to resurrection to the sending of His Spirit. Or as Luther put it: "Therefore, Baptism is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and whatever other terms we can find to praise it. This is all because of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, which no one can praise enough. For it has, and is able to do, all that God is and can do." (Large Catechism)

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