Pastor Ed was right. This past weekend’s sermon was like drinking from a fire hose. Geology, biology, anthropology, theology and psychology all mixed in with a dose of healthy relationship basics plus a naked body. This was certainly not your “old school” sermon about Noah and the Flood. In today’s cultural climate a blog would likely discuss the naked body but I am going a little old school and talk about water. There is the literal and obvious story about the water and there is the symbolic.
Noah and his family plus the animals are all saved from drowning by being inside the ark. One could say they survived by going through the water and eventually being raised out of the water on to a dry mountainside. With the fountains of deep opening and the sky bursting forth with rain one could just as easily say Noah was buried in water. All this makes me think of one of two sacraments Jesus commanded us to do in His church. I am speaking of baptism.
Baptism brings to mind that Jesus was crucified, buried then raised up out of the grave – under the water representing the grave and coming up out of the water, the resurrection into new life and salvation for humankind. Baptism also symbolizes a person who is dead in his trespasses being buried (under the water) then because of receiving Jesus in his heart being raised out of the grave (up and out of the water) into new life by the resurrection power of Jesus.
Noah was able to survive being buried in the flood of water because of God’s provision, the ark. But before the ark, before the flood, it was Noah’s relationship of faith with God that established his righteousness, thus, going through the flood and coming up dry was a Genesis baptism story.
It is quite interesting that with all the traditions of the “church,” of all the rituals that have developed over many centuries and the practice of many diverse methods of worship in the church, Jesus speaks of only two things we continually should do: communion and baptism. This tells me that so much of what we deem sacred is really preference and that baptism, is sacred. I am not saying what we practice in our churches is not valuable, worthwhile or meaningful; I am saying baptism is something to be excited over, cherished and celebrated. And not coincidentally, we will be baptizing at the 10:30 AM service this coming Sunday. Come praise God for salvation, cheer for those proclaiming their relationship of faith, and celebrate with us one of the two sacraments proclaimed by Jesus.