Something Old, Something New… Stepping Into Something Blue

With spring and summer upon us, chances are high that you may be celebrating a wedding with your family or friends. In the Jewish tradition, prior to her wedding a bride is baptized or immersed in water as a purification ritual to prepare for marriage and to symbolize the break between her old and new life. Paul may have had this practice in mind when he wrote to the Ephesian church:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
In Paul’s image we are the bride, but this washing is a little bit different than stepping into a ritual “mikveh.” Jesus is the one who accomplishes the cleansing and, rather than emphasizing a physical action, the focus is on spiritual cleansing toward new life by the good news of the gospel. We are united with Jesus into new life because of his life, death, and resurrection.

Baptism is an external sign of the internal reality of the new life we have received by faith in the finished work of Jesus. When we are baptized, we publicly identify ourselves with Jesus as part of his church. Going under the water identifies us with Jesus’ death and rising up out of the water symbolizes our union with him in resurrection life.

Celebrating baptism together is a sign of God’s constant work among us and a high point in the life of our church. If you have not yet taken this important step, I encourage you to sign up today for our next baptism service. We’ve extended the registration a few more days, but you need to act soon to be included.
Washed together in his grace,

Titus O’Bryant
Teaching & Executive Pastor of Ministries

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