January 9, 2022
Luke 3.15-17, 21-22
+ Our Gospel this morning begins with this fascinating statement:
These people, who were about to witness the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, are filled with expectation, and questioning in their hearts.
Did you notice them?
They did it because they saw themselves as “Christians.”
Many Christians, in the wake of this blatant high jacking of our Christian faith by people who have made Christianity into a circus of hatred and violence, who have made Christianity into a force of American Nationalism and have formed an ugly white, spray-tanned, blond idol out of Jesus, are struggling with our faith.
I know of only One.
More than that, it is diametrically opposed to what we as baptized Children of God are called to do in this world.
We have to fight to not become those Christians that are causing so many of us to deconstruct a faith we have held dear for so long.
We have to fight not to become those people who turn others away from Christ.
We as baptized Christians must fight hard to not become ugly stereotypes of what Christianity is right now in this country.
We, as loved children of a loving God, must work hard to not be manipulative, controlling, gossipy, backbiting, unloving people.
We must not hide behind the name of Jesus as we call for destruction and death on those who don’t follow out own deceptions.
We must not be what our critics accuse of us being.
We must love and respect each other equally.
Our baptism forces us out into the world to be a part of the world and, by doing so, to transform the world.
Loving God, we are so grateful for what you did for your Loved One Jesus in those waters in the Jordan River; we are thankful for what you did in the waters of our own baptism; help us to live a truly baptismal life of love, of acceptance, of inclusion, of radically embracing those who are excluded, of those who are on the fringes. Help us to be Jesus in this world to those who need Jesus. And especially help us who are struggling to rebuild our faith so that we can truly live a faith pleasing to you. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.