Thursday, April 30, 2015

Minding and Abiding

Sometimes a change in perspective is necessary.  Often, though, it can be make us feel disoriented or at least a bit uncomfortable. Our experience has taught us that we eventually adjust and adapt. For example, the view of the baptismal font is different, yet it is still the baptismal font. The only thing that has changed is the perspective from which we are viewing the familiar font.

This Sunday we will consider the way that we are connected to Jesus. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism remains the central initiation into the Body of Christ. In baptism we are joined to Christ's death and resurrection -- we are given a new life, the only life that matters.

The way we view baptism sometimes becomes so familiar that we don't see the connections that have been made. A change in our perspective is often very helpful is rediscovering things we have forgotten or never noticed before.

Take some time between now and Sunday to discover more about your baptism.  Have you been baptized?  If so, when and where were you baptized? How were you baptized? Did you have sponsors or Godparents? Do you have any pictures?

On Holy Trinity Sunday, May 31, we will be receiving new members into the congregation. While we do so, everyone will be invited to participate in Affirmation of Baptism. Perhaps we can see things from a new perspective and be reminded of the connections not only between ourselves and Christ, but among one another.
In baptism our gracious heavenly Father frees us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity; by water and the Holy Spirit we are reborn children of God and made members of the church, the body of Christ. Living with Christ and in the communion of saints, we grow in faith, love, and obedience to the will of God.  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Order of Baptism)

Mosaic of Jesus the Vine. San Clemente Church, Rome. 1100 a.d.

I realize that I used a version of the above illustration for the mid-week Lenten devotions. However, I found a better picture of this mosaic to share with you.  It may be difficult to discern in this image, but the central figure of Christ on the cross is surrounded by a series of branches that is to be an image of the church. Jesus is the True Vine and we are the branches. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing.

The Gospel reading this Sunday is from St. John: 15: 1-8.  Take a few minutes to read it, then sit back and listen to this meditative work by contemporary Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt. It's one of my favorites. (You can skip over the add after a few seconds.)

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