I really struggled with coming up with the starting point for this blog. But then it finally came to me, I needed to find a gimmick. So after racking my brain for a good gimmick, I landed on the idea of using GIFS...
I have been thinking a lot about baptism lately. And this GIF made me laugh out loud. I think it's a great image for how we really respond to baptism when we learn what we must do to be a person of faith. We like the idea of jumping in with both feet, but when we find what's really in the water we hightail it out of there.
I think the topic of baptism has been so much on my mind because of what is happening in our society, in our culture, and pervades in our personal lives. Today the hot topic is immigration and especially what's happening on our borders with the separation of children from their parents. There are so many people weighing in on social media and the rhetoric is overwhelming to me. It's hard for people of faith to live into their baptismal promises when faced with choosing what is more important, such as being an American or one's political party. It's hard to sift through when there are so many voices vying for attention. But I believe, that as people of faith reflect back to their baptismal vows and what it means to really embrace the economy of the gospel, it becomes clear how we ought to respond.
But the economy of the gospel is scary because it means putting aside this world’s understanding of security, the importance of getting ahead, and redefining what really is important. The economy of the gospel would say that human beings have value no matter where they come from, what they look like, how much money they have, or what they may have done in their past. Jesus Christ calls us to put aside our own comfort and to trust in the rule of God's kingdom which is mysterious and hard to enumerate or see.
On the other hand, the economy of politics and being an American speak to our more fearful selves; the part of ourselves that tend to want to self-protect and hoard just in case there might not be enough for everyone involved. I get it! My fear can easily be tapped when I think about how difficult it is to find the financial resources to do things even here in the church. And I understand the insecurity of being around others who have a different culture than I am accustomed to. Ultimately, God's word challenges me to move beyond myself and to recognize the vulnerability that comes from leaving behind one's land and family. Recognizing someone’s vulnerability ought to stir up a sense of personal humility, not ego or selfishness. Honoring the humanity of all people requires mercy and compassion.
A scripture to edify…Exodus 23:1-9 from The Message:
1-3 Don’t pass on malicious gossip. Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute.
4-5 If you find your enemy’s ox or donkey loose, take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, don’t walk off and leave it. Help it up.
6 When there is a dispute concerning your poor, don’t tamper with the justice due them.
7 Stay clear of false accusations. Don’t contribute to the death of innocent and good people. I don’t let the wicked off the hook.
8 Don’t take bribes. Bribes blind perfectly good eyes and twist the speech of good people.
9 Don’t take advantage of a stranger. You know what it’s like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt.