Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sacrament of Holy Baptism.
v22 The waters were divided and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground with a wall of water on their right and left".
This passage gives an account of an important landmark in the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. They were a group of slaves who had nothing to be proud of. They did not have any place or status in the society. They were foreigners. They were being led by Moses to escape from the centuries’ long slavery in Egypt. But, to their dismay and frustration, there was the Red Sea as a barrier on their way ahead. In other words, they were between the devil and the deep sea now. They could not turn around, because there was the Egyptian army chasing them. Those were tense moments of uncertainty, fear, helplessness, etc. Then, by the Lord's command to Moses, the waters were divided, and they could move forward and reach the other shore safely. Going through the Red Sea meant liberation from the clutches of Egypt, freedom and newness of life. It was the redeeming act of God. God promised His presence with them. It was God's covenant. They were God's chosen people, chosen and cleansed by grace.
This great event stands as a symbol for Baptism.
Baptism is a subject of controversy and the cause for divisions in Christendom, due to the varying concepts given to it by some churches. We have to consider the real meaning and significance of Baptism, rather than considering it merely as a ritual.
Human beings are born in sin. Baptism is the sacrament by which the child or the candidate leaves the old life and receives the new life in Christ. Water is used as a symbol for cleansing or purification in almost all religions. Christians use it as the symbol of the forgiveness of God by washing away the past and the sins involved. The prayer used for the blessing of baptismal water is, "Almighty God grant to those who are baptized in this water cleansing from defilement, freedom from bondage, remission of sins, forgiveness of trespasses, a holy inheritance, imperishable garments, newness of the Holy Spirit and identification with the death and resurrection of your only begotten Son." (Order of Worship p. 84)
Baptism points to the fact that God has set us free from being under sin and Satan. Going through the baptismal water means freedom and newness of life. In baptism we are given a new name, a new identity. We are the children of God; His chosen people. It is a covenant. There is the promise that God will not leave us.
At this time of uncertainty and anxiety due to the spread of Covid-19, let us get stronger in faith and remember God's promise.
"Lord, thank You for relieving us from the clutches of Satan. Just as You helped the Israelites to pass through the Red Sea, help us to overcome the challenges of life, depending on Your promises and faithfulness."
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Do I have the confidence that I am liberated from the bondage of Satan?
Rev. Philip Varghese
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church