Our Lenten Journey
Part of our Lenten journey takes us to those places in our own lives, among the people we know best, where we have not loved as we could; where our actions have distorted our love; where inaction has threatened love.
What can we do? How can we right what is wrong? Fix what is broken? Heal what is aching and torn?
We can never get back to the garden of Eden. We can never return to that state of innocence. And yet at the heart of our faith is a God who won't give up on us. A God who expelled the humans from the garden, and then followed them out. A God who said, and who says again and again, "You are my beloved. I will be your God, and your will be my people." We have a God who will never abandon us, but offers us amazing and abounding grace to do what we cannot do for ourselves. Here is our God who forgives, reconciles, makes whole, and save. It is the free gift, and it is given to us in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us.
This morning those of you who have gathered here for worship have braved the cold winter winds and the tough snow drifts to come to this place to experience the precious gifts that are given to us in and through Jesus Christ, in both holy baptism and in holy communion. In just a few minutes we will be baptizing Makenzie. This sacrament is a sign of God's love. It is rooted in the goodness of creation; in the sacredness of each being; in the blessing God gives to each person simply in the gift of life. Yet it is also a reminder that we all forget our divine heritage. Makenzie--like all of us--will forget the God who made her in love and for love and will try to go her own way. One of the stanzas in "Borning Cry" reminds us that "wandering off where demons dwell" is a part of the life journey. Today, parents and sponsors make promises and all of us here make a community commitment to nurture her in faith. We promise to help her remember who she is and Whose she is.
Every time I baptize a child, at the end of baptism, I always ask to hold the baby. I have to admit there is nothing like holding an infant to bring out the profound feelings of thanksfulness to God for the gift of creation itself. But there's more. For when I ask to hold a precious child, you see the parents have to give up the child--offering her to me symbolically offers her to the whole church. She will never again be just their child. And so, in this act of great courage, this letting go, we trust our children, we trust ourselves, and in fact life itself to God.
So we begin another journey together. We make our way in the footsteps of our Lord. Along the way we may find heartache and brokenness. We will not deny our own participation in sin. We will instead accept God's free gift of grace and let its loving power fill our lives, shape our actions, redirect our priorities and transform our world.
To Jesus Christ, who loves us and freed us from our sins by his cross and made us to be a kingdom, be glory and power forever and ever. Amen