Advent and Baptism

“After me one who is more powerful than I is coming….I have baptized you with water; but the one who is coming will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
-the words of John the Baptizer, from the 1st chapter of Mark

How odd, to read about John the Baptizer, for not one, but two Sundays in Advent!  This strange figure, with wacky clothes and diet, performing baptisms somehow like ours, but not quite, in the river Jordan, is somehow our messenger, telling us about Jesus, who is to come. 

How does he speak to our longing for a better world?  What does he tell us about our desire for God to draw near?  We’re excited about the baby coming; why do we want to hear him talking about the grown Jesus?

This season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) we are yearning, and hoping, waiting patiently or not, for Jesus to come.  We aren’t  just remembering Jesus coming in a stable as a baby, but also waiting for him to come again in power, and looking for all of the ways he breaks into our everyday world, making it holy.  And all along, we ask “What will it be like when Jesus comes?”

John the Baptizer is a strange answer!  Or, maybe, a strange way to ask that question!

And while we’re asking about the One to Come, we get to do some very real baptisms ourselves!  With deep joy, I get to announce to you that we will have two adult baptisms this Advent season.  Nick Candeleria will be baptized on Dec 11th, with Hal Core as his baptismal sponsor, and Nick Deriso will be baptized on Dec 18th, with Bridget Jensen sponsoring.  What joy!  The Holy Spirit has been busy working in the lives of Nick and Nick, and through the lives of Bridget and Hal!

In fact, I see this as a sign of the way God is working, so deeply and awesomely, in all of Grace Lutheran.  Your welcome, your witness, your love, are powerful responses to God at work in the world.  In fact, I think we have a partial answer to “What does it look like when Jesus comes in our world?”  God’s work looks like you!

And John the Baptizer, with his funky clothes and his misfit nature- sorry to tell you dear ones, but you and he have an awful lot in common!  Like John, you point the way to Jesus.  Like John, you draw the world closer to the waters of baptism.  Like John, we pour water of people, trusting in the words of Jesus that the Holy Spirit gets even more caught up in their lives than before. Like John, we wait for Jesus, pointing the way….

And all of our desire for a better world is somehow caught up in this: Jesus coming, in water in wine, in new people coming to us, in community, in the Holy Spirit moving through us, in the Holy Spirit changing our lives and our world.

Holy and Blessed Advent to you, dear people of Grace. 

Pastor Lura

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