As Presbyterians, we do not believe that we achieve salvation for ourselves. The words and waters of baptism are not some magic potion that secures our salvation, whether baptized as an infant or as an adult. Baptism is a recognition and joyful reminder that God has sealed us into God’s life and love.
I think the unexpected gift that day was that peace was birthed into this world despite the violence that threatened it. Indeed, peace is still being birthed into this world despite the violence that currently threatens it. Over the past few days, the news has been dominated by the escalating tensions between our country and Iran. And I think it’s a good time to be reminded that we’ve never found peace by killing our enemies. More often than not, killing our “enemies” ends up creating even more of them.
You see, God couldn’t wait for “better” circumstances. For some reason, it was important to God to birth God’s son into a messy reality by a poor, marginalized couple from the Middle East during the regime of a cruel ruler named Herod. For some reason, it was important to God that God’s son not be born at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville but in a poverty stricken county in Eastern Kentucky. For some reason, it was important to God to introduce Jesus to us in the same birthing process as you and I entered this world.
And that hope is not a wishy washy thing. That hope is as real as the heat coming off of that purple candle. That hope is as real as the bread and juice that you’re about to taste. That hope is as real as a newborn in your arms. That hope is as real as the love that you all find here within these walls.