This past Sunday morning the service featured a sermon by our youth minister, a baptism and testimonies by persons recently baptized. Our youth pastor is unique. Many youth pastors see their calling as a way to becoming a lead pastor. But our youth minister sees his call as more nearly a life time of service to youth. Of course he does not know his future, but he is on the way to understanding how to live fully in the present moment. The present moment is his life!
He accepted the moment as an opportunity to teach the nuances of baptism. He used much of the terminology of Roman 6; although he did not refer to immersion as the mode of baptism. He noted a commentator who wrote of two polarities in society. One polarity pulls toward the American dream, and the other polarity pulls toward the values of the “kingdom to come”, the kingdom that is already here.
Americans dream of earning a lot of money and owning a lot of things. That, taught the preacher in Ecclesiastes, is as unfulfilling as trying to grab a fistful of wind. A person in Christian baptism is drawn to the values of another lifestyle: living, serving and dying for others; a life style filled with love, joy and peace.
The movement from one polarity to the other was described as a mystery by our youth minister. To me, the mystery is seen in the pouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, and on Cornelius and his household. In each instance there was a pouring down or a shedding fourth of the Spirit and as I understand it, of water in baptism. There is a baptism of Spirit and of water. The Christian life is one of joy through suffering. It is different from the American dream.