Archive for March, 2010

Baptism…

March 16, 2010

Last time we looked at water as a symbol and we discovered that water has been used as a symbol in all the major religions.  I now want to turn to the Church and ask the question: What does baptism mean to the Church?

Baptism is seen as an inititiation ceremony into the Church.  However not all churches use baptism as a gateway to church membership.  Some churches practice dedication as the main way for church baptism and put more emphasis on adult baptism.

I am not making any theological judgements on what I believe.  I am only stating these from an educational standpoint.

From my point of view, one of the best places to start is to look at the baptism of Christ our Saviour and Lord.  The fullness of the Godhead is found in him and yet he is also fully human.  Having past the various tests Satan threw at Jesus, he then went straight away to the river Jordan to be baptised by his cousin John the Baptist.  In the Jordan we see the fullness of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Father from the heavens says “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”.  The Holy Spirit taking on the form of a dove descends onto Jesus.

For everyone else except Jesus this was a baptism of repentance.  Jesus’ baptism was different as Jesus ‘had no sin’!  There was no need for Jesus to be baptized as far as sin was concerned.  However the credentials of Jesus were being made clear and public at the beginning of his ministry culminating in his death and resurrection.  Anyhow Jesus being fully God within the economy of God and being fully human in the economy of man shows us the way into the presence of God.  Our baptism which is in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit leads us on a beautiful journey of blessing and help from this life and into eternity.

The Nature of Water

March 7, 2010

In the next few posts I am going to talk about baptism.  Let us not get all religious about it but start by looking at the nature of water.  When God decided to make water he invented to parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.   We now know that there is also water on the moon and Mars.

Why is this important to scientists?

The truth is: It is not only important to scientists, it is also important to all of us for without it we cannot stay alive.

So what is it about the quality of water that makes it so important to us and for that matter, the whole of the living world.

  • We drink it.
  • Plants grow with it.
  • We can drown with it.
  • We can float on it.
  • Some have even walked on it.
  • We can play with it, ski and swim on it.
  • It can hide things from us if it is deep enough.

Therefore it shouldn’t surprise us that water is used in all the major religions as a symbol as it is used by all of us and without it we would not exist!

The symbolism of water

Thus water has universal appeal.  So in religion what can water represent?

  • Purity
  • Death
  • Life
  • New life
  • Holiness
  • Growth

It is possible to add to this list.  Try to think some for yourself.

 

Purity

Obviouisly it can be a sign of purity because if we didn’t bathe at no time at all we would stink.  Thus

Purity can represent

  • No sex outside of marriage
  • Say kind things
  • No bad language

The list on purity can go on.

Holiness and sanctification

Purity and holiness are very closely linked.  If there is a difference it would be with the idea of separation.  Church objects such as the chalice have a particular religious job to do and only at the communion table.  It would be sacrilegious to use it for anything else such as drinking beer from it.

In the same way people are separated to be priests doing God’s work.  Indeed according to Bible teaching Christians are referred to as ‘priesthood’ for God’s purposes.

Life and New life

Again water can represent life, new life and eternal life: For all of the monotheistic religions God is the Giver and Sustainer of life.  This includes the ‘social life’.   In the western world the social life can be going out at the Weekends and having a good time at the Weekends.  This can result in having a hangover … In certain circumstances it can lead also to an anti-social life such as drunkenness, violence and sometimes death.

Anyhow whether we are religious or not religious including atheists there is an inner dimension to our lives that is ‘social’ and needs a social life to satisfy the inner cravings of our being.  For the Christian the Social life finds its fullness through the work and being of Christ as he brings peace and harmony into our lives that make us truly happy.