You ever feel like your day has been kind of hazy? You know you went to work, did some chores at home, and somehow the sun is down and you can’t really say what you did. Well I had a day like that the other day. I got up drank a cup of coffee, or two, got ready to come into the church and got into my car. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the driveway of the church. I couldn’t really recall what played on the radio or most of the ride in. Sometimes, life gets hazy. Sometimes, our spiritual lives become that way as well. You know those years that seem to fly by faster than normal and you haven’t done anything you set out to do in January. You may wonder what happened to the time? Baptism speaks to this phenomenon. It speaks to a spiritual awakening from the just living through the monotony of everyday life and interactions.
The people of the ancient world struggled with this as well. We see it in the scriptures. Today’s scriptures from Isaiah promise a Messiah, a servant of the Lord who is promised to come and shake things up. The scriptures promised that the people will be spiritually awakened through the love and judgment of the Lord to come at the hands of a servant, through the promised Christ. Jesus would be that individual and in life he awakened fear, joy, thanksgiving, and purpose in the hearts of all those he came in contact with. And it all started with Christ’s baptism, when Christ really became aware of his ministry, and accepted his purpose of shaking things up, awakening the people to a vigorous relationship with the Holy lived out in their every day experiences.
Jesus’ baptism was not about washing away sins, for he was sinless, but was more about his very visual ordination by God to a new work, and his acceptance of that work. Jesus was beginning a ministry that still today awakens new vigor for God and His work in the world with each new day. The mission he brought took the humdrum, the monotony out of everyday life. It cleared the haze in the spiritual lives of many in his day, and it promises to do the same for us today.
Often times, our lives are humdrum, hazy, and tired. But they don’t have to be. When we come to Christ in Baptism, we are not only renouncing a sinful life, or promising to teach our children the appropriate life lessons that will lead them to one day affirm their baptisms for themselves, but like Christ we are acknowledging that God calls us to more in life. We are acknowledging that Christ has done more than forgiven us; he has inspired our hearts; he has awakened our souls, and he has opened our eyes to a different way of life. A life lived in service to the Lord; a life lived in the care of our fellow people. Martin Luther, a father of the Reformation, had a lot to say about baptism and this is what he wrote, “Christ’s mission and work, it is to help against sin and death, to justify and bring life. He has placed his help in baptism …..”. Christ calls us to a spiritual awakening, to open our eyes to the work he calls us to live, to the work he calls us to give our lives to. This is the true meaning of baptism and for those with infant baptism, confirmation.
We are called to see the world as Christ saw it, a world in need of the compassion and love of God. Compassion and love that is only enacted by the works of our hands, by the faith that we live, and by the words that we share. So whether you had an infant baptism like me, or an adult baptism, we should always be living into the meaning on that act. We should be looking for ways to reignite that religious vigor, that faith, that brought us together in community.
So when your life gets hazy, monotonous, or just seems to be lacking meaning, as it does with all of us occasionally, then that is God’s way of reminding us to open our eyes and see his presence. It is his way of reminding us to remember our baptisms and to refocus our lives. Remember what our scriptures said for today, “And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened[a] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him”. The heavens have been opened and the Son of God comes to bring depths to our faiths and to our lives. Allow for the waters of your baptism to wash away the haze of life’s routines and open your eyes anew to the work of the Lord. Just as Jesus’ baptism was a sign of the new mission in his life, so it is a sign of our mission to live into Christ’s teachings each and every day. To remember that we have been called to care more, to love more, to give more. So go out and discover Christ alive in your lives, care for those in need, feed the poor, pray for the sick and dying, reach out in fellowship and love to your neighbors, and share your faith experiences with all that you meet. In so doing, we reassert why we came to faith. We remind the world of Christ’s mission and message. We reignite a yearning in our souls that will chase away the shadows of despair, and the boredom of life.
 Martin Luther, 16th century, Father of the Reformation.
 Matthew 3: 16, RSV.
(Based on Isaiah 42: 1-9 and Matthew 3: 13-17)