Saturday, January 10, 2009

Water Is Thicker Than Blood

In honor of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, I thought I might point you in the direction of the recent issue of Holiness Today in which there appears an article by Jamie Gates (director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego) entitled "Remember Your Baptism." Here are a few quotes, but our discussion need not be limited to just these quotes. The entire article can be found here.

"Baptism is wide in the sense that it ties us to a global body of Christians who are called by one Lord, one Spirit, and one faith to be one Body. Baptism became one of the early church practices that initiated new converts into a new way of being a group of people. "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:10, NRSV). We have received mercy so we might be holy people, a group whose lives together should be a sign of God's kingdom at hand."

"As members of Christ's Body, we are no longer to hold on too tightly to the ties that used to bind us. We are like a husband and wife who, because they are bound together, should no longer seek their individual interests at the other's expense. Water is thicker than blood. Ties to our brothers and sisters in Christ should become more important than our ties to people of our own extended family, race, ethnicity, or nationality."

"I guess living in the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, a border town between Mexico and the U. S., makes me more aware of how often our citizenship trumps our baptism. It is difficult to see the San Diego-Tijuana region as one parish when a big fence with armed guards cuts off part of our community from the other. It is difficult for us to live in the "year of Jubilee," holding all things in common so that none go without, when we have wealth disparities reinforced by the international border. It is difficult to be one body and one faith with one baptism when immigration laws increasingly hinder our brothers and sisters from south of the border to join us for worship and fellowship north of the border."



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