Today, marks the 527th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Baptism! I thought it would be appropriate to post this reflection from a couple years ago.
"But in all things commending ourselves as ministers of God, in much patience, in hard circumstances, in needs, in distresses, in plagues, in imprisonments, in insurrections, in work, in sleeplessness, in fastings, in purity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the Word of truth, in the power of God; through the weapons of righteousness of the right hand and the left, through honor and dishonor, through slander and good reputation, as deceitful and true, as being ignorant and being known, as dead and behold we live, as instructed and not put to death, as sorrowful and always rejoicing, as poor and making many rich, as having nothing and also possessing everything." (2 Corinthians 6:1-10)
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
When things got really bad for Dr. Luther, he would remind himself, "Baptizatus sum." That means, "I am baptized." When it seems like everything has gone wrong and everything is messed up, you are baptized. And when it seems that all you have going for you is your Baptism, then you have everything!
That’s how St. Paul can put such opposites together in our Reflection for today! All these opposites joined together, they don ‘t seem to fit. Honor and dishonor, slander and good reputation, deceitful and true, being ignorant and knowing, dead and behold we live, all of these are only true because St. Paul is baptized.
In times requiring patience, you are baptized. In great suffering, you are baptized. In hard work, you are baptized. In dire need, you are baptized.
In distresses, plagues, when they throw you in prison, you are baptized. When they revolt against you, in work, when you can ‘t sleep, then you are baptized, baptized, and baptized. When you don ‘t have enough to eat, when you hear the Gospel in its purity, when the kindness of God is obvious even to you and me: baptized, baptized, baptized, and baptized.
This is true solely because of the Cross of Christ. There on the Cross, Jesus took all that we ever have done – good and bad – and died in our place. He took what He earned and gave it to us. We are sons of God because He is the Son of God. We are heirs to heaven and earth, because all things were given to Him. We are kings and will rule forever and ever, for He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
All of that becomes ours in Holy Baptism! Jesus delivers Himself to us in the waters of our Baptism. He delivers everything to us through His ministers. We, who are dead, are, behold, made alive! We, who are sorrowful over our sins, rejoice! We, who are poor, are rich in the Spirit.
We, who have nothing, posses everything! At the font, it is given to us because, there, Christ is delivered to us.
When things look good, we are baptized. When things are normal, we are baptized. And when everything has gone wrong and it looks especially bleak, then this is most certainly true: Baptizatus sum! In the name of Jesus. Amen.