[Sermon Conclusion follows below…]
Religion and ritual aren’t the only ways for us to remind ourselves to do the right thing but they work for some of us – especially when we’re not being called a brood of vipers or a pack of snakes or evil.
We remind ourselves of the good news through rituals like communion and baptism. We remember the promises made for us and by us at milestone moments in our lives – as infants, as confirmands, as new church members. We take these opportunities to hear and renew the holy call of covenant with God and with each other. And we repent of our mistakes and make up our minds to try and do better moving forward so that we can produce good fruits out of our faith.
And the good news is, Jesus is right there next to us. Jesus comes down to the water with us, looking into our eyes, smiling, and calling out our name to follow – Asking us to abandon our drive for treasure, telling us to put down our weapons of conquest, asking us to bring the gifts that God gave each of us so that we can use them to make the world a better place by sharing with and caring for others.
Jesus is right there with us, remembering, renewing, repenting; showing us the amazing grace that we are given to try again. Knowing that we will never be perfect but reminding us that we were created “very good” and that, no matter how lost we become, God’s grace will relieve our fears and show us the way forward.
What do you call a group of imperfect humans who want to try harder, engaging the rituals of faith, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, walking together in all God’s ways known or to be made known?
God calls that group “beloved.”
“You are my Own, my Beloved. On you my favor rests.”