Pentecost 12, Aug. 7, 2017 – Holy Eucharist and Baptism

Title:Pentecost 12, Aug. 7, 2017 – Holy Eucharist and Baptism

August 7, 2016 (full size gallery)

Today was the baptism of Samuel Paterino, son of Kelly and Dominic Paterino and grandson of Boyd and Barbara Wisdom. What a grand celebration – 65 in the congregation, beautiful roses from Cookie on the altar, a duet from Roger and  Helmut  and to cap it off a wonderful 1st Sunday social provided by the Wisdoms. We also had younger members of the congregation particapating – a new acolyte, junior greeters and junior bellringers. The first Sunday social featured sandwiches, salads, a vegetable plate and a desert table with the baptism cake cookies and donut holes.

The weather was as glorious as the event with lower temperatures and humidity for an early August day under beautiful sunshine.

Baptism occurs infrequently but it is a celebration for all involved – the baptized, the sponsors and the congregation. For the baptized it is the Holy Sacrament by which God adopts us as God’s children. (Book of Common Prayer, 1979, 858). Through Baptism, God makes us members of Christ’s Body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God. For the sponsors, it is an moment of gladness as they are sponsors in this person’s walk with Christ. For the congregation it is a joyful celebration as we add to the body of Christ manifested in the church.

In baptism, we affirm that we belong to the God who is made known to us in Jesus, and we promise (or, if we infants or very young children, promises are made on our behalf) to live our lives in accordance with this deepest truth about who we are and whose we are

Baptism is about repentance and renouncing the old life and the norms and priorities of the world. But it is more than that. It is a re-enactment of the drama of creation, death and re-creation – our own participation, in other words, in Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are buried in Christ’s death by being immersed and coming up in new life – risen up in resurrection.

Through the Spirit, we die. The waters do their deadly work. Through the Spirit, we are raised, so that we have died to the old life, not only repented of it. And through the Spirit we are, says Paul, ‘new creations in Christ’ because it is Jesus who came and lived among us, died, and was raised as a beloved Child of God.

Baptism is high drama. Painters have crafted images that depict Christ’s baptism over the centuries

This week’s readings help us to understand our heritage of faith and to strengthen our trust in God. In Genesis , Abram puts his faith and his family’s future in God’s promises. The psalmist sings the praises of the sovereign Creator God. The author of Hebrews gives examples from salvation history of the faith that pleases God. There is a sense of urgency about the parables in the gospel for today. Jesus admonished his followers to be ready for action: "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; — Luke 12:35 . Jesus cautions his disciples to live in a manner that reflects the imminent possibility of his unexpected return.

The scripture from Genesis in the readings this week fits well with baptism placing the baptized life in the midst of a larger story "He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness."

The sermon spoke of this larger story using the travel of the Hokule’a, the Hawaiian canoe traveling the world right now .

"This double hulled, sixty-one foot catamaran style canoe, lashed together by rope, is built the way the Polynesian navigators who traveled the Pacific thousands of years ago built their canoes. And its twelve crew members are navigating across the oceans by an ancient system of navigation known as Polynesian wayfinding’.

"The Hokule’a also has a sister canoe, the Hikianalia, named after the star Spica, the companion star of Arcturus. These two stars rise together in the night sky over Hawaii.The Hikianalia is built like the Hokule’a, but it also carries some modern technology, like electric motors powered by panels that convert sunlight to electric energy"

Jesus to the disciples – "He says to them that when he goes away, he is going to send them the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to be with them. “And when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth,” Jesus tells the disciples. "The Hikianalia has been sailing, unseen, somewhere in the vicinity of the Hokule’a through the trackless void of the oceans. Like the Holy Spirit, unseen and ever near, the Hikianalia can come to the rescue of the crew of the Hokule’a in the case they should find themselves in any sort of trouble they just can’t navigate."

"When Samuel leaves here today, sets sail out of this safe and familiar harbor, the Holy Spirit, his Hikianalia, will set sail beside him. Soon the Hikianalia will vanish from Samuel’s sight, but it will always be nearby ready to come alongside as the guide that Samuel will need throughout his life. "

"If we live long enough, we will at some point find ourselves lost at sea, and even with everything we know about navigating through our lives, we will be stuck out in the middle of the ocean, becalmed, with dying of thirst under a relentlessly burning sun. "

"And that’s when the Holy Spirit, our Hikianalia, will come alongside, to lead us to our respite on some island nearby that we couldn’t see or reach on our own. And in these ports we find people worshipping, breaking bread and praying together, proclaiming God’s Good News by their love and care for one another—God’s heavenly places here on this earth where people love their neighbors as themselves, and where everyone strives for justice and peace for all, and where each person respects the dignity of every human being."

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