Comments: The Path to which initiation points

Wow! That is a particularly powerful reflection. Thank you Andrew. It also sparks off thoughts in me for something I am needing to write about human rights in the Christian tradition.

Posted by Marian at Sunday, 26 March 2017 at 11:46am GMT

"the inevitability of the clash between Jesus’s Kingdom of God movement and the religious and colonial authorities of his day."

Until God's Kingdom is brought about on Earth, inevitably it is a clash which continues. The question for each of us is,"How do I ensure I am fighting for the Kingdom of God and not for the present day religious and governmental authorities?"

Posted by Kate at Sunday, 26 March 2017 at 11:52am GMT

Thank you Andrew, for such an evocative piece. Spiritual baptism is a fundamental principle - the death to self that is implicit in the great commandments of love.

As Jesus said to his disciples 'You will be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with' which the writer says was referring to his death.

Whether love calls us to physical death or a thousand deaths to self-interest, this is the dynamic of the love of God and the power of God. It is the heart of baptism.

We see it as an archetype pre-figured again and again in the Old Testament: the going down into the jaws of death and burial, and the presence of God in that ordeal, and the promise of restoration and new beginnings.

Noah, 'buried' in the vast waters in a coffin-like boat, cut off from life. Joseph cast down in the pit, and left for dead. The people 'buried' in the depths of the Red Sea, but led by God to a new beginning. Daniel doomed to the lion's den, and again, in the fiery furnace, where he seems so totally lost, but encounters the divine presence there, and is saved... just as we may encounter God in our deaths to self and reaching out in love.

"If you pass through the deep waters, if you pass through the flames... I am with you... because I have loved you, I will deliver you."

And the one sign Jesus said he would give... the sign of Jonah... buried in the belly of the whale and the deep waters... and then restored.

Water baptism itself, I strongly believe, is an efficacious sacrament and grace. A new birth. But we should never forget it points to and symbolises the spiritual principle that permeates the Bible: the Way that Jesus led, and called us to follow, the greatest commandment, the commandment to die to self and open to new life.

This is spiritual baptism. And it is a vast power and defiance of the darkness that looms before all our mortal lives.

Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem, the culmination of his baptism. The Way of the Cross is not optional if we seek to know the new life of the Kingdom of God. We are drawn into the burial that God in person knows. It is the Oneness in Christ that resonates with love, with sharing, with truth.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 26 March 2017 at 1:18pm GMT

I agree with Marian, it is a very powerful reflection. It articulates the personal anguish and cost of saying "I am a Christian".

Posted by Pam at Sunday, 26 March 2017 at 8:41pm GMT

Kate, I'm thinking about this one! I wonder how many people have come to the conclusion that the Anglican Church in England, as it stands within national legislative framework, is the 'religious and governmental authority"?

If Baptism in the Spirit is to set us free from our darkness and to take the gospel out to bring light to others - whose rules do you work under?

Posted by Lavinia Nelder at Monday, 27 March 2017 at 11:07pm BST
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