Baptism: Submitting to the Giver
Judges 13: 1-14
Vs. 5 For you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazarite to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”
The book of Judges tells us about Israel being in disarray. God’s judgement was upon them as they continued to persist in sin and moral failure. The book reminds us that the assurance of forgiveness and reconciliation, in a broken relationship with God, is given to us.
We have read about the birth of Samson. The angel of the Lord had spoken and assured a child for Manoah and his wife. They were looking forward in faith and hope, as they were childless. The angel of the Lord reminds them that the child born to them is to be a Azurite, that is, to be set apart for God’s service (Numbers 6:1-21). The parents received this message with faith. Samson led the people of Israel as a judge for 20 years, in the days of oppression by the Philistines. He served God, but had challenges during his service. He fulfilled his vow, and was committed to God who had called him.
This coming Sunday we are meditating on the theme of Baptism. It is a time for us to remember the vows taken at the time of our baptism. In the Mar Thoma liturgy of Holy Baptism, the godparent, along with the parents are asked to repeat an oath “Renouncing Satan, I fully believe in Jesus Christ.” This is a vow that is taken in the presence of God. Those who have gathered also are asked to affirm their responsibility in raising the child in faith. This is a communal experience. This is the manner in which we can be a part of the salvific experience. Being submissive and committed to the Lord also means that we bring others into that experience.
Paul in his first letter to Timothy, Chapter 2: 3-4 says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Although we have committed ourselves to the Lord, the desires of the flesh cause us to sin. Samson was set apart, but also sinned. We come to worship together as a faith community. Being partakers of the Lord’s table, we have a responsibility to encourage each other in our commitment and faith in the Lord. Struggle is a reality of human life, and we need to encourage each other as believers.
Lord God, help us to understand that we have been baptized and set apart as your children. We have made a commitment. Help us to live our lives, fulfilling this commitment. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Let us persist in our commitment to the Lord. If we are not committed, how can we bring others into this commitment?Rev. Dennis Abraham, Youth Chaplain, South East Region