Baptism/Trinity Sunday 06/16/19—Highland—Meute
Isaiah 43: 1-7; Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22
Pearl: The power and safety of God-with-us sealed to us in our baptisms.
Function: To encourage worshippers that in all times and in all seasons of life the presence of our loving God helps us to go through the waters and the fire.
Will you find any of the following statements in the bible?
- “God will not give you more than you can handle.”
- “This too shall pass.”
- “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
- “God works in mysterious ways.”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”
- “Love the sinner. Hate the sin.”
- “God helps those who help themselves.”
- The bible does not say any of these things.
The words from the Prophet Isaiah read: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (Isa. 43:2).
is not saying “I will not give you more
than you can handle” because that would imply that God is the source of
threatening waters, rivers, fires, and flames.
- God would not say that because the fact is that people drown in floods and people burn to death.
- Too many were not delivered from such tragic ends. But God was surely with them ministering to them and saving them in ways we won’t know until we can talk to them in the heaven.
is not saying, “This too shall pass.”
God is saying something much better.
- God says to us that though the waters rise and though the fires grow, the God who loves us will not forsake us and will indeed save us, even through fire and through flood.
saving word is what is found in Isaiah 43:4: “You are mine…you are precious in
my sight and honored, and I love you.” It
is just like what God said at the baptism of the Son Jesus: “You
are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well-pleased” (Luke 3:22).
- Can there be a better affirmation?
Reading again from Isaiah it is written: “When you pass through the waters…when you walk through fire…” It does not say “If you pass through the waters” or “if you walk through fires.”
become overwhelmed and feel as if we are drowning or being burned for many
reasons: our own ineptitude, external forces beyond our control and because
adversity is simply part of the nature of life.
- God does not impose these difficulties on us but chooses to be powerful and compassionate toward us when we are in the eye of the hurricane.
- Only five months ago many of our federal workers felt the waters rise around them with the government shut-down. Certainly many of them live paycheck to paycheck. How well would you do missing a paycheck? I might be able to make it without one or two now but most of my life I could not afford to miss one paycheck.
fiancé Molly used to work for TSA. She has friends who are married and have a
baby. The mother works for TSA and the father works for ICE (Immigration and
Customs Enforcement). They are both still expected to report for duty. What do
they do with no income?
- Speaking of ICE, how about the people our government has living in makeshift camps along the southern border? Over 58,000 immigrant families are living in a limbo nightmare in these camps.
- Some months ago Pastor Ken Kovacs from Catonsville Presbyterian Church asked for prayer. Their church held a funeral for Zara Blay, a three-year-old who was diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Day. Ken asked prayer for “her parents Vit and Kim, brother Luka, their extended family and friends, and for a congregation and its pastors who were all devastated by this loss and who were really struggling.”
Sunday night Nancy received a text from one of her closest teacher colleagues from
across the hall. Her husband Hal was burned when his gas grill exploded as he
turned it on. Hal spent last week in the burn unit of Crozier Hospital in
Philadelphia. He was burned on his face, arms, and legs from the knees down.
- We prayed all week for Hal and I also prayed for the many other patients on the floor with Hal. His wife said you could regularly hear the cries and screams of people from the pain of burns as bandages were pulled off to debride their skin.
- On Tuesday Hal talked to his wife on the telephone and cried as he talked about the bandages being removed from his body that morning.
- Through the week as I prayed for Hal I prayed for all of the rest of the patients on his unit. I imagined the agony of their ordeal.
- God is with them ministering to them because when you walk through fire, God is with you, reminding you of his presence, compassion, and power to save and to heal.
you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they
shall not overwhelm you” says
- Yet many feel overwhelmed. And some drown. And some die.
2016, there were 44,975 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to
the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. On average, the annual U.S.
suicide rate increased 24% between 1999 and 2014, the highest rate recorded in
- Please pull out your smart phones or pull out a pen and write down this number into your contacts right now: 800-273-8255. This is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Keep it and share it with others. It is so good to know that we have such a resource immediately at hand. Use this resource. It is from God. Don’t think of it as a secular means of help. God makes use of every helping agency. God will help you and those you love through any and all means.
- At the same time, and more profoundly always remember that the Lord God Almighty is with you, in the raft with you guiding you through some of the roughest times of your lives…saying to you, “You are mine…you are precious in my sight and honored…and I love you.”
A video of a family went viral. In the scene a young teenage girl was opening her gifts on her birthday. As she opened one gift she covered her mouth and began to shutter and weep. In the box she opened was a card saying that she was now adopted by this family. There were no words. There was only embracing and sobbing. Sobs of joy and happiness. Sobs of knowing that she belonged. Sobs of knowing that she was now a daughter, no longer a foster daughter. Sobs of mutual love and acceptance. Sobs of relief in finally being…home.
Your baptism is your birthday card saying that you are adopted into God’s family. You are somebody. You are God’s sons and you are God’s daughters. The words that Jesus heard are words that you should all hear over and over again: “You are my child, the Beloved, with you I am well-pleased.”
should not hear “this too shall pass;” not “God will never give you more than
you can handle;” not “God helps those who help themselves,” and most certainly
not “Everything happens for a reason.” No, these are all theologically corrupt
and unworthy of the Lord God who loves you.
- This is what God says to you: “You are mine; you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you…You are my child, Beloved, with you I am well-pleased. Do not fear, for I am with you.”
God, your spiritual parent, your ultimate parent, is with you in all times and in all seasons. When the waters pick up their pace and begin to become rough for you, God is with you to guide you. When the fires of life start to grow and swell around you, there is someone with you who loves you more than you love yourself: Jesus the Christ.
children are in peril for their very lives, healthy parents will sacrifice
themselves in order to save their children. They will do things that they never
thought they could do. They sometimes take on strength that they never suspected
they had, due to surges of adrenaline.
- Grandmothers lift cars off of their children to save them.
- The Lord God Almighty who loves you, became a human being and gave himself up to death, being tortured and crucified for your sake, and for the sake of all of the children of the world.
- Jesus told his followers, even while he was ascending into heaven, that he would be with them always. He promised that the Holy Spirit would come and be with them. The Holy Spirit is with us now and forever because God said, “You are mine, you are my child, the Beloved, and with you I am well-pleased.”
There are many reasons why you may not be pleased with yourselves. We all have many flaws and foibles. All the while God is saying to you, “You are mine; you are precious in my sight and honored, and I love you.”
16th century Reformer Martin Luther was known for muttering to himself in times of anguished distress, “I am baptized.” He told himself and shouted over and over “I am baptized.” By doing this, he was reminding himself of God’s constant and unchanging love which makes all things new, now and forever. He continually reminded himself, “I am baptized,” because it was a way of reminding himself of God’s constant and powerful affirmation: No matter what “You are my beloved children, with you I am well-pleased.”