March 25, 2011 - The Mark of God
Rev. James Abrams
Two boys sit on a park bench after a highly contested ball game drinking Gatorade and telling stories. The taller one points down to his knee and says, "I got that one chasing Jenny Henderson around the pool last summer. She grabbed my sunglasses and ran off with them. I took off after her. Next thing I know, I'm all tangled up in a lawn chair with blood running down my leg." The shorter boy holds up his hand and describes how is sister slammed his fingers in the sliding door of his mother's brand new mini-van.
Life has its moments. Sometimes they leave marks. The emergency cesarean, the rebellious tattoo/piercing, the hidden scars of a cutter, under the eye sporting event, the barefoot escapade, the car accident injury, the sibling rivalry, and the playground mishap just to name a few. Each mark tells a story. Because we carry these marks around on our bodies it makes each story hard to forget. That might have something to do with why the Scriptures make such a big deal of circumcision. A bodily mark is not so easily forgotten. Neither is the story of its origin.
God's children are a marked people. Each one with his/her own story to tell. We carry around in us the seal of our baptism. Not a visible, physical sign to compare with others on the playground. Rather, the washing of baptism has left its mark deep on our soul. It tells the story of sinful hearts made pure by divine love. It speaks of The One who bore, in His own body, the marks of our transgression and iniquity. It tells the story of orphans who have been chosen and welcomed home. It speaks of being made new from the inside out.
The mark of our baptism becomes visible to others only when it is revealed by a holy life. Living a redeemed life, from a pure heart, in our world will result in suffering. Then again, every memorable mark has its painful price. The most significant marks accompany the greatest of suffering.
Suffering God of redeeming love,
Send your Church into the world to leave her mark with acts of compassion and deeds of mercy. Transform us from the inside out so that with bold proclamation and holy lives we might tell the story of your redeeming love we pray. Amen.