Learning How to Live Debt Free Creating Mercy
Or Doubling Down on the Hell We Live In
Today we celebrate Solis’ Baptism in Jesus Christ and her membership in Christ’s Church. Every baptism is a chance for all of us to renew our own commitment to Jesus.
In the early days of the Church only adults were baptized. They had come in contact with a local gathering of Jesus followers and heard the Gospel and decided to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives. After a period of instruction in the faith, up to three years, they were baptized, usually on Easter Sunday.
The early theologians of the church reflected on the necessity of baptism and belonging to the Church for salvation. The new life in the Holy Spirit was palpable and it didn’t take long for the parents in the community to request baptism for their children. The episcopoi (overseers, bishops, apostles) agreed to allow the baptism of children if the parents would make a solemn promise to bring up their children in the Christian life. This would be the greatest responsibility of their lives. This morning we witnessed Kimberly take these promises for Solis.
God’s Word we heard this morning helps define what the most important learning of Christian Life is: Becoming a person that creates Mercy. We raise our children, like Solis, to know God’s mercy and be able to create mercy toward others. Let’s reflect on what we heard this morning:
1) Joseph, so wronged and betrayed by his jealous brothers, thrown in a pit to die and then sold into slavery, shows them complete mercy, and, in their time of trial, gives them everything they need. They had been so fearful of a harsh judgment by Joseph, but instead all they received was mercy.
2) St Paul in Romans passes on his understanding of Jesus’ message: Do not judge others. If you think other people are in the wrong in your eyes and/or the eyes of God, keep your conviction on this matter to yourself. Focus on the mercy God has shown you and what Christ has done for you. This is how you show your true devotion to God: not in being a (self) righteous judge of others, but instead creating mercy toward others at every turn of life. It’s when people are recipients of mercy and not judgment that they may repent and change.
3) Today’s Gospel of the Unforgiving servant underlines all of the above. The Servant was given total forgiveness by the Master, who forgave all his debt, but when he came across a fellow servant in debt to him who couldn't pay, he had him thrown into debtor’s prison. Confronted with a perfect opportunity to create mercy and to keep the mercy he had received flowing, he refused.
Heaven on earth is acknowledging the mercy each one of us have received by God and letting that mercy flow consistently to others, especially the ones in debt to us for any harm they have caused. To do otherwise is to live in Hell: a world that operates on judgment and insists on the strict repayment of debts. The servant in the parable was invited into the heaven of God’s mercy, but he chose to go back to a world where debts are strictly kept. Instead of choosing heaven, he doubled down on the hell he had been living in and suffered the consequences.
When we talk about raising Solis in the Christian life we’re talking about her learning to create mercy. Kimberly takes the main responsibility for this, but we share and support her and Solis in this task. We want to be here for you. The Church is really a school where we should be learning divine mercy. Our grade point average is not very good, so we keep coming back to give thanks to God in Holy Eucharist, and we hope you and Solis will keep coming back too!
Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English, Anglican Communion) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.
|The Reverend John Smith, Vicar|
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES EVERYONE