Baptized into One body
These are passages from the fourth message in our series on baptism in Lent, 2018. For the full text, see The Household of God .
I have no right to walk into the White House. I have no right to walk into the Sistine Chapel. What right do I have to walk into God’s presence and sit at his table? I have that right because God has adopted me in the waters of my baptism.
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We should never take God’s mercy for granted, but we should boldly expect it. We should boldly stand on God’s promise. We should expect mercy not because we deserve it, but because God has promised it. We have a right to expect mercy not because of who we are, but because of who God is. We can’t take it for granted, but we can count on it.
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When you are adopted into a family, you get the whole family. You don’t just get the immediate house, you get all the aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. You get the whole family history. You even get the ones that might be an embarrassment to the family name.
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Baptism unites us with Christ and the whole Christian church, but that whole Christian church is present to us in a specific congregation. These are the people who are called to love me and that I am called to love. These are the people with whom and for whom I pray. These are the people with whom and for whom I sing the liturgy and serve as I am able to serve. These are the people to whom I seek to be the presence of Christ and who are the presence of Christ to me and with whom we are the presence of Christ in the world.
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If we are God’s family, then we have obligations to the world. We are part of the family business. And God has business with the world. We are going to talk about this more next week, but it is very important for us to understand here that the body of Christ exists for the sake of the world. We don’t exist for our own sake; the church exists for the sake of the world. We are not a lifeboat of those saved from a sinking ship; we are a coast guard cutter sent to the rescue.