The Epistle of 1 Peter is one of the Catholic letters which was addressed to the faithful immigrants or diaspora and to those who resided in the nearby provinces of Asia minor. All these minority faith communities underwent extreme persecution from emperors like Nero and Domitian. The selected text mainly focuses on the theme Baptism. It is considered as one of the dominical Sacraments or Gospel Sacrament instituted by Jesus. Through Baptism, one is admitted in the local church, the body of Christ where he believes and identifies with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Also, Nicene Creed affirms that there is only one baptism for the remission of our sins. Baptised for new resolutions in life Different from the concept of the non-believing world, by baptism, according to Peter, we are being incorporated into a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God’s own people. We are called into His marvellous light and the dark moments are gone. We do not have to be ashamed or afraid to be known or to live as a “Christian”, but we need to glorify God, praise God that we have been given the opportunity to suffer in His name. (1 Peter 4: 16-17). It is indeed an encouraging note to the minorities in Asia minor as well as to the universal believers. Here the Christian community struggled to live in the context of state sponsored violence and bloodshed. Numerical strength is not always the winner, we have to remember that we have the power as we are the anointed ones. Baptism saves the righteous In the given text, the Sacrament of Baptism aligned with the flood and Noah’s ark narrative. The ark and Baptism are the expression of God’s saving grace. The flood waters during Noah’s era washed away the sin and wickedness of that generation. Thereafter, a new redeemed community was established through righteous Noah. The Church is the new ark. We believe that in all our Sacramental administration the matter that sanctifies in the name of Trinity has the saving power. God will protect the one who is righteous. Baptised for a good conscience Baptism is not for physical cleansing, but it appeals or pledges for a qualitative behavioural cognitive change which begins from the early period itself. There is sin, selfishness and corruption in our nature. But these evil thoughts of our corrupt mind are sanctified by the enlightening and experiencing presence of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In baptism, we identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also participate in His suffering and pain too. So, the baptised one should always stand for a transforming presence and work for a redeemed community.
PRAYER Lord help us to adhere to the baptismal vow and live for the glory of God. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY “We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”.
Rev. Sam T Panicker, St. Thomas, Kattanam Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church
PRIESTHOOD: THE ANOINTED MINISTRY Exodus 40:12-16 Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting... wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest (Exodus 40: 12-13). Priesthood among the people of God was a divine command and initiation. God wanted some people to be separated for the special ministry among his people. God appointed Aaron and his descendants to take up this kind of ministry among the people of God. Priests are always separated and appointed as channels that connect God with his people. All throughout the history of Israel, priests played an important role in connecting people with God and to lead and guide them in the statutes of God. But there are incidents in the Bible where the priests failed in their duties and that led the people to go away from God. So the priests have a special and significant ministry to perform in this world among his people. Two important things
Revelation for Liberation Acts 27:18-26 Sherine Thomas Long Island MTC, NY 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. “After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear open skies” so said a Scottish clergyman from the 1600s. It’s been said, that hope can sometimes be the most dangerous weapon. However, it’s sometimes the hardest weapon to carry when you’re living with the loss of a loved one, something that almost feels like a terrible nightmare that’ll never go away. It’s a weapon difficult to carry when day in and day out no one seems to hear or see those tears that are shed or silent cries that are made during a heartfelt prayer. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you see your loved one lying on that hospital bed. It’s a weapon difficult to carry as you search and seek out answers to tell a child as to why they’ve been a
Community Formation Around Resurrection Experience Acts 23:1-10 Vinod Johnson Carmel MTC, Boston, MA 6 When Paul noticed that some were Sadducees and others were Pharisees, he called out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am on trial concerning the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” Sometimes, the only thing that keeps you going through a brutal winter is the hope for the spring. It may have been a hard hope to hold on to this particular year in New England - a year in which Boston considered dumping not tea, but the ever growing mounds of snow into its harbor. And yet, the waist deep snow has dissolved away. White desolation has given way to increasingly visible green shoots of spring. A resurrection is at hand! In this passage, Paul tries to defend himself before the Sanhedrin Council. He seeks to drive a wedge between the Pharisees who believed in resurrection and the Sadducees who did not; even though neither believed in the resur