Summary: I. Baptism is a Sacrament of Joy II. Baptism is a Sacrament of Relishing a Life in the Holy Spirit
Theme: Splashing With Jesus!
Title: "Water Marks" or Splashing with Jesus!
I. Baptism is a Sacrament of Joy II. Baptism is a Sacrament of Relishing a Life in the Holy Spirit
Grace and peace and love from God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
A few weeks ago we were able to travel down south and visit some of our family that lives around Baton Rouge and Denham Springs, Louisiana. It's been a little over a year and a half since both cities experienced the Flood of 2016 that now has been called one of the worst US natural disasters to hit the US since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Over 146,000 homes in Baton Rouge Parish and in Livingston Parish were affected with many of them being totally destroyed or uninhabitable. Estimates of over 30,000 people had to be rescued from rising life threatening water. Volunteers from all over the nation came to help and provide assistance. Many of those were boat-owning residents of Louisiana and the state of Mississippi. They formed an informal rescue service that became known as the Cajun Navy and navigated through some of the areas in answer to calls they received via social media. Over 1,000 people owe their lives to these brave men and women who out of love came to their rescue.
The flood affected everything from homes, to business, to schools and even to the local prison system. Over 240,000 school children were unable to attend classes for a period of time as some 22 schools were adversely affected by the flood waters. The Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW), located in St. Gabriel and the sole Louisiana state prison for women, had 985 prisoners at the time of the flooding and each one of them had to be cautiously evacuated to other facilities. It was the first time in Louisiana history that the whole population of a prison had to be evacuated.
The total cost of damages from the flood has been estimated to be somewhere between 10 - 15 billion dollars making it one of the 10 worst storms to hit the United States in the last 100 years. Scientists looking over all the data have concluded that the event was a 1,000 year flood meaning that such a flood should only occur once every 1,000 years.
Anyone who has ever been through such a disaster knows that nature leaves behind not only multiple signs of wreckage but also what could be called "water marks". If you drive around the area you can see visible signs of how high up the water got on buildings, homes, monuments and natural landscapes. High water marks tell a story.
Similarly, if you happen to drive on Riverside Drive in Clarksville, Tennessee you can see some of their high "water marks" from flood that happened in their city back in 2010. You may not be able to clearly see them on buildings or landscapes as time has erased most of them but you can see one of them very clearly if you dine in at the Wendy's Restaurant that is located near the Cumberland River.
The original Wendy's Restaurant had to be demolished because of all the flood damage that had occurred. The owners built a new building in which they creatively marked a part of their wall in the dining area to show how far up the water had reached in the old building. That water mark serves as a reminder of just how high the flood was in that part of the restaurant and in Clarksville, Tennessee. It also serves as a reminder of the tenacity and perseverance of the city of Clarksville and the Wendy's Corporation. Instead of allowing the flood to defeat them they creatively used the water mark to positively speak of the enduring nature of the human spirit.
This morning our passage of scripture speaks about a different kind of watermark. It is a water mark that each one of us is to possess in our own lives after we have received the LORD JESUS CHRIST as our personal Savior and Lord. It is the water mark of Christian baptism. Unlike many of those other "water marks" that we see left behind because of flood waters this "water mark" is to be a lasting positive reminder of our New Life in Jesus. It is to remind us of God's amazing grace and the purifying and continual infilling presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Without a doubt, Christian baptism is one of the most beautiful sacraments that we can experience as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is mystical, supernatural and life transforming. It is an outward sign that we have received an inward grace - the grace of the New Birth - justification, redemption, regeneration and sanctification.