Water. It’s so simple, right? Do you know that water covers about 71% of the earth? That’s a lot of water! What’s even more amazing is that our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water! We’re kind of like Spongebob Squarepants! Okay; one more amazing fact; this one really blew me away. How old is water? Some water is older than the sun; older than 4.6 BILLION years old! Now that is amazing!
Just think about it; water has been around since the beginning of the planet. I wonder where this water has been. I wonder where it was when I was born. Was it in a cloud, or a stream, or in a glacier? I wonder if it has ever been on other countries. Maybe it was in the rain forests, or in the Indian Ocean, or on the North Pole. I wonder if dinosaurs drank from it. I wonder if this is the same water that people talked about when they told the story of Creation, or the story of Moses.
Water is most impressive if you think about it. It amazes me to think that the same water that Jesus saw and touched when he was alive could in some way be the same water we touch today. It’s so simple, and yet so majestic.
Let’s take a moment and think about a time in your life that included water. Who was there with you? What was the occasion? Do you remember how things looked, or sounded, or smelled? Many of us have some really wonderful memories; for some of us they may not be as heartwarming. Well today we create a new memory; for these two families, for the church, and for God’s Beloved Community! Remember this day. Today, the story of this water will be part of God’s larger story that reaches back billions of years in the past, part of God’s story shared amongst us today, and will be part of the future; of what God will do in the days to come.
We read about water in our scripture text today. In fact, there are lots of great stories centered around water in the Bible, but today is a special story. We read of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, who was preaching repentance and baptizing people in the river Jordan. One day Jesus decided he would be baptized too. John was amazed at Jesus showing up; John knew just how important Jesus was.
We read the story: 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”
You see, Jesus knew something else. Jesus knew that this moment would become the official beginning of his ministry; the time when he would be introduced to the world. John also knew his role in the story; he was the messenger; the one who would introduce Jesus to the world.
Then what happens next? Well, we read what happens next:
16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
That’s right, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, and as Jesus was coming up out of the water, the sky opened up, and the Spirit of God came down like a dove and rested on Jesus.
If this isn’t amazing enough, God speaks!
17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
What an AMAZING story! Can you believe it?! In one simple act, God tells the world that Jesus is the Son of God. From that point forward, Jesus will live his life healing those who need help, feeding the hungry, teaching others about God’s love, and many amazing things including conquering death itself.
That’s why we are here today. Isn’t it awesome to imagine that perhaps this is some of the same water that Jesus was baptized in? When we baptize people, we remember that story of Jesus being baptized, and God saying how much Jesus is loved. In the same way, when we baptize today, we remember a lot of stories of God moving in the world through water: through the stories of Creation, the stories of Moses, of Noah, the prophets, the disciples, and more. All of these stories remind us of the most important message when we see this water: We are God’s children, and God loves us so much. No matter what, God first loves us. Just as our parents first loved us before we were even born, God says ‘I love you. With you I am well pleased. You are mine.’
Yes, this is old water…from the beginning of the earth…maybe from the beginning of time itself. It’s such a simple thing: it doesn’t taste very special, it doesn’t look all that unique, it doesn’t even really do anything if you are just looking at it. Yet, I think that’s what makes it so amazing. Despite it seeming so simple, it’s so important and powerful. It was from Creation that God put the waters on the earth, and life was formed. Water has the ability allow things to grow. Water can heal the sick. Water has the ability to literally shape the earth. Water is so simple, yet so powerful.
And this is how Baptism is as well: so simple, yet so powerful. Today we baptize eight children of God. It may look so simple, with the sprinkling of ordinary water on the head, and a few words proclaimed. And at the same time, this is so important, so special, so powerful. Within the act of Baptism we know that Christ is present with us. Within this story of Baptism we tell the stories of old, from Creation to today. In Baptism we die to sin, and are raised to new life in Christ Jesus. We are made clean by the cleansing waters and grace of God. In Baptism we are reminded of how God chooses us first, before we even have a choice to love God back. In Baptism we are offered new life.
And this is how God works within our lives. We may think of our lives as simple, normal, maybe a little boring. But God sees something different. God loves us, transforms us, and uses us to do extraordinary things. We are God’s children; called to do no small, inconsequential things, but we are called to proclaim the Good News of God’s love for the world. We join the millions who have come before us, and those will come after us, to do the most important task of telling the story of this water; of witnessing to the risen Christ.
Today, on this very important day in the life of these families, this church, and on this very important day for God our loving parent, may we be reminded of just how simple, and amazing this act of Baptism really is, and just how simple, and amazing God’s love is for us.