Monday, February 14, 2011

Sacred and Sending Waters: Sunday Sermon Reflections

I have really enjoyed the past few weeks in worship with the Contemporary Service community at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In fact, as I mentioned to Shelli Latham (one of our pastors), I really believe that God is at work in not only the leadership and vision team, but also in all the people in worship. It is a joy to walk into this service each week and know that there is a sacred rhythm to not only the liturgy, the music, and the message delivered, but also and especially the conversations that take place in Spellman Hall and Shoo Mama's (love me some breakfast tachos!).

However, it was this Sunday's focal element, baptism, that really resonated with my heart and soul. There is something about the sacred and sending waters of baptism, which when engaged as a people of God, reminds me to be someone different, to live as though different, and to think different. The waters of baptism, even as I dipped my hand in them during the children's message, sent a jolt through my body that reminded me of the power in the gospel that cannot be settled. I think Shelli said it best in her sermon, "We may be able to contain the waters of baptism in a copper bowl in our worship space, but we surely cannot domesticate them, for they are fierce."

One thing I fear, however, is that maybe I have, maybe we have, done just that- domesticated these sacred and sending waters. Hear the words of Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon in Resident Aliens:

“When we are baptized, we (like the first disciples) jump on a moving train. As disciples, we do not so much accept a creed, or come to a clear sense of self-understanding by which we know this or that with utter certitude. We become part of a journey that began long before we got here and shall continue long after we are gone” (52).
The waters of baptism invite us onto a rapidly moving train ride towards the reign of God, the kingdom of God, the new creation, if you will, that is breaking in all around us. Do we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear? Even more, these waters call us not to wade in them, rather be sent out from them, dripping wet, and to invite others to join us as the people of God in and for the world.

So this week I have pondered:

How can I be the baptized in my neighborhood?

How can I be the baptized in the places I shop, travel, and play?

How can I be the baptized in the world and in light of so many local and global concerns and injustices?
As we travel together, even as baptized pilgrims, may the fierce waters stir within our imaginations new and fresh opportunities to live into the sacred and sending sacrament. And may others then ponder, even consider, entering into the waters as well...

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