In general our world does not deal very well with change. Too often, the new beginnings, new technologies, and revolutionary ideas are too quickly put to use by those in power to manipulate others and gain more power. Or these new ideas and technologies are used to gain power over each other as we compete for material wealth and worldly power.
Now there are plenty of good people in the world and good Christians, who eventually smarten up, push back and begin to find ways to use our new beginnings and advances to benefit a majority of the people. But, unfortunately, the world never seem to be able to help everyone out of hunger, thirst, and illness, before the majority moves on to the newest beginnings and newer technologies to fight over and use for power and gain.
This is the sort of dilemma Jesus describes in Matthew 19:23-26.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
So if humanity, or “mortals“, can not get ourselves unstuck a cycle of never being able to really use a change for the good it could be to the world, God must have a better solution. We have be told, above, that “for God all things are possible.” How does God handle change?
For a Christian, baptism is one of the ways that God makes things possible. Jesus’ baptism is an example of a great new beginning, as it marks the beginning of his earthly ministry. It is a reminder that endings are also a part of our journey and relationship with God. Jesus’ baptism was a new start to the relationship between us and God. It ended the Old Covenant, which had brought God’s people to the place they needed to be, but would take them no further. God makes a change for the good of the world by sending God’s own son to lead the way to God’s Kingdom.
This baptism is a very helpful way for as Christians today to understand and face the endings and new beginnings in our lives. To help us find our way to the Kingdom, God gives us a way to make changes, take risks and be vulnerable, knowing that we will make mistakes and get hurt, and be hurt along the way. Baptism and its promise of forgiveness and a place in the kingdom, is the foundational tool for living in faith through new beginnings, endings, and the time in between.
Through our Baptism and its’ promise, God helps us face our endings. God helps us face our addictions and put them behind us. God helps us work through our grief of loss and find new meaning and purpose in our life. God helps us to walk away from the situations and relationships that temp us to destroy the things that are good in our life.
At the same time, through our baptism, God has promised to be a source of new beginnings in our life. God helps to put the right people in the right places at the right times to open the doors to those new opportunities. God helps us to find meaning and purpose when the night seems darkest. God does not want us to give up, because God wants to be the unchanging source of our hope.