Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lent: Living Our Baptismal Calling

I confess that my baptism draws somewhat of a blank in my memory bank. I couldn’t tell you much about the ritual other than that water was sprinkled on my head at some point, and I definitely couldn’t name the professions and commitments I made on that day.  And I’m someone who takes words seriously!
How about you?  Do you remember the 3 professions of faith you made when you were baptized (if you were baptized in a United Methodist Church)? Could you name all that you committed to with the various “I do’s” and “I will’s”?  My guess is that what likely stands out with the most clarity is our membership vows to presence, prayers, gifts, service, and witness and everything else is rather fuzzy.
I hope we might change that through this season of Lent. 
This year, we are pairing our baptismal vows with the Lenten lectionary gospel reading.  It is my prayer that in doing so we might bring those vows to life and impact how we are living into and growing in our discipleship. 
Here are the themes for the 5 upcoming Sundays of Lent (excluding Palm Sunday):
March 5th – Renounce: We walk the way of temptation with Jesus and learn from him what it means to continue to renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of our sin.
March 12th – Accept: Through the powerful image of new birth and the biblical story of the serpent in the wilderness, Jesus shows Nicodemus and us what it takes for us to accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves.
March 19th – Confess: In an encounter with a woman at a well in Samaria, Jesus confesses he is the Messiah, and she not only embraces this, but leads others to make the same confession. 
March 26th – Nurture: The response of the crowds to Jesus’ healing of a man born blind says much about how our congregation can actively “nurture one another in the Christian faith and life, and include these persons now before you in your care,” or fail to do so.
Apr. 2nd – Believe!: The faith we confess, and the faith that transforms us, is more than intellectual assent to a theological construct. It is to stake our lives on the Triune God, and so join Martha’s confession, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into this world.”