Colossians 1:13-14

“[13] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

 _

Martin Luther wrote in his Large Catechism, “A god is that to which we look for all good and in which we find refuge in every time of need.”

The term ‘god’ refers to that upon which your life is ordered, directed, controlled. The term ‘god’ points you to whatever it is in your life that has the last word. When understood in this way it is apparent that gods are all over the place. So, when people say that they believe or trust in god, it might be of interest to ask them to tell you about the god they believe in. You might be surprised at what you hear!

When the early Christian community got it’s wheels rolling it began to speak of God in three terms; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They did so because of what had happened to them in Jesus the Christ. Not only did they know Him as teacher and miracle worker, they also knew Him as the righteous sufferer who had been raised from the dead.

The idea of the righteous sufferer being raised from death was already present in Judaism. But this is not how the early Christians experienced the Resurrection. For, if Jesus had been raised under those terms, it would simply have been His private business. But when the early Christians proclaimed the Resurrection of Jesus, the righteous one, it included everyone. It was proclaimed as a cosmic event. In the Resurrection of Jesus they were let in on the final meaning of the universe. The ultimate meaning of the history of the universe comes only at the end of all things when the last word on the meaning of every event and every person is spoken.

The early Christians recognized that the end of all things, the last word, had suddenly appeared in the midst of the unfinished business of history. By abandoning Himself utterly to the death, to powerlessness in the name of the Father, Jesus was raised from powerlessness and now life was proclaimed to be stronger than death. When the early Church, then, called God Father and Son, they were at least in part, referring to this mysterious intimacy between Jesus and the Father by which this God defeated the powers of death and meaningless. Death no longer has the last word. Life has the last word.

The Holy Spirit, then, becomes a way of speaking about how this life of God continually breaks open the powerless, meaningless future which appears to be dominated by death. It is not the death-dealing demonic spirits that dominate the future, it is the Holy Spirit of God who has the last word.

When we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, therefore, God gives us His promise that we are now being transferred from the reign of death into the reign of life. The question as to whether or not the last word in your life and the tragic life of the universe will be gracious or not is answered in the affirmative.  Baptism is God’s promise that in the midst of all life’s inconsistencies and ambiguity, you may entrust yourself to this God who has given you His name; that you may “look to Him for all good,… and find refuge in every time of need.”

 

 

“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

_