Saturday, August 29, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Baptism: Dying and Rising up with Christ


Rev. Jameson. K
Switzerland MTC

24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”.

 

As one of the Dominical sacraments of the Church, the holy baptism stands as a pillar of Christian life, its identity and mission.  The baptismal liturgy of the Mar Thoma Church affirms that, through the holy baptism a person identifies with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Further it embodies sign of new life in Jesus Christ and participation in the life giving mission of Christ. The meaning of baptism includes ‘the invitation of God to share in His divine life, union with Christ, the beginning of a new life in Christ, the reception of the Spirit, and admittance to the community of the faithful’.

The selected passage draws our attention to the importance of self-sacrifice and the willingness of painstaking in Christian life.  Through baptism, one agrees to bear the cross of Christ. To carry the cross of Christ is a unique way of life towards eternity. The uniqueness of the cross rest in the life saving plan of God. In this passage, Jesus uses a metaphor ‘kernel of wheat’ to teach the significance of this new life.  A kernel of wheat is safe in the basket of the master. But it is not created to remain in the safe zone. Rather, its purpose is to be source of a plentiful harvest of new lives by its death. In the same way, the holy baptism is an invitation to come out from the safe side of life. This proposition demands a willingness to participate in the pain of Christ.  As a baptized member of the Church, our calling is dual in nature. That is the willingness to die and thereby to give life for others. A ‘kernel of wheat’ has no choice to have its own space to grow. It is the choice of the master. It might fall in a fertile land or a barren field. But its choice is to grow and to be fruitful by giving up its own very self.   This passage reminds us that only through death, life is possible and the ultimate call of the Christian life is to be productive for Christ.

The holy baptism is an invitation to die to the carnal natures within us. There is a continuing struggle between the carnal and spiritual elements within each one of us. Baptism calls us to die in our own selfishness and worldliness and to resurrect towards holiness and goodness every day.  Through baptism the old habits and sinful ways of life is dead and buried.  That is why Paul, say ‘Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body.’(Rom.6: 12) Baptism represents the burial of our sins and the resurrection of our new being. The baptismal water is a symbol of death and life. When the Israelites crossed the red-sea, the water of that sea became a source of death for the Egyptians and the source of life for Israel. In the same way, through baptism one enters into the source of eternal life.

History is full of great people such as Gandhiji, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer, Francis Xavier, Fr. Damian who all lived for others like a kernel of wheat. They  still continue to motivate and inspire us. They all came out of their safe zones to give life to many. As a Christian our baptismal calling is to die and to be productive. Let us bury our carnal nature every day and resurrect towards the holiness of God for His mission.  May God bless us for the same.


PRAYER

Lord, help us to experience the death and resurrection of Jesus everyday by letting us  die to our carnal nature and resurrect in your holiness.  Strengthen us to sacrifice our lives for the blessing of others - Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
 
‘Baptism is a funeral service as well as a resurrection service’.