Sermon Title: Earthbound Jesus

(Mark 1:4-11)

Rev. Erik Kindem, January 7, 2018

Quick Summary:

Mark’s Good News story of Jesus is enmeshed with earthy things, and there are reminders of this throughout this morning’s text. From the get-go Mark puts us on notice that the One whose story he tells does not hover above the ground but has his feet planted on terra firma. Nor will the truth of who he is be conveyed through intellectual arguments or literary persuasion. Instead, Mark gives us the story straight-up, in language as dense and compact and as the desert rocks that line the Jordan River. The larger point Mark’s conveying is that earthiness and Spirit go together; THE REALM OF THE SACRED and THE FLESHINESS OF MATTER are as ONE in Jesus.

When we, like Jesus, wade in baptismal waters it's our REAL SELF we bring before God, not some imagined or sanitized version. And it’s the whole substance of our lives Christ comes to make his own.

THE WATER IN OUR FONT HAS A HISTORY, AND THAT HISTORY MATTERS. It can be traced back not only to the snow capped mountains that ring the Cedar River watershed, but far beyond in deep time to our solar system’s formation, when hydrogen and oxygen molecules first forged within the cauldrons of ancient stars, were ferried to this fledgling planet on the wings of meteors over eons too great to number.

Why does this matter? It matters because when this water over which the Spirit of God brooded in the beginning makes contact with us in the font, it binds us to the God who formed us from clay and follows us wherever we go.

The Baptismal Hymn known as St. Patrick's Breastplate illustrates how intimately and enduringly the Triune God we encounter in baptism follows us, and how we are wed to this God through the elements of Creation. This God is with us wherever we go, says Patrick, before and behind, above and below, around and within; surrounding us with grace and mercy, calling us to be as fully committed to following him as he is to loving us.

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