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Psalm 46, Acts 2:37-42, Baptism

An Invitation and a Promise

Immediately following the coming of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, Peter addressed the crowds with the good news of the risen Christ and a proclamation that the prophecies of old had been fulfilled in Christ. New believers were stunned and confused as to what they should do in response to this new knowledge. In this text Peter answers their question. “Repent [literally, to turn around], and be baptized.”

Peter invites them to turn around, and turn back to the God who “is our refuge and strength… [who] shall not be moved… and [who] makes wars cease.” They are invited to be baptized into the family of Christ that celebrates such a powerful and loving God. Baptism brings with it the promise of new life for them, their children, and for all who had lost their way.

Baptism is not magic. The sprinkling of water does not place a magic shield around people, nor does it promise a charmed life.

Baptism is an invitation. It is a welcoming into the body of Christ. It is welcoming the Holy Spirit into one’s self. It is walking in the world fully equipped with the spiritual gifts necessary for navigating this life.

Baptism is a promise. It is a promise made by those getting baptized to surrender fully to a life lived in Christ. It is a promise made by the community of Christ to support and love one another. Most importantly, it is a promise by God to walk with us, to guide us, to love us, and to welcome us home.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 46

To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
   though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 
though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy habitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
   God will help it when the morning dawns. 
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
   he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
   see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
   he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire. 
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.’ 
The Lord of hosts is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Acts 2:37-42

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Earlier Event: August 12
Ephesians 6:23-24, Blessing