The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Living God's promise

'Daring Lutherans' risk all for life

Water and words — abundant for some, yet scarce for others. After recent scandals in churches, government and major corporations, the integrity of words is also sorely lacking. It seems a long time since I've heard someone's promise described as "good as gold."

Yet it is word and water that daily give us identity and purpose, belonging and freedom: not magic water or empty words but God's living word of promise spoken to you and me in baptism. "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ... Child of God, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever" (). What do these words mean to you and to this church of gathered children of God?

"Just in case what?" I would respond.

"There is certainly a promise of resurrected life in Christ after death," I would explain, "but baptism isn't only for life after death but also life after birth."

When we sprinkle rather than immerse the baptized, perhaps we lose the profound sense of a drowning, dying and rising (see "Resources" at left). God's promised word is that in Christ the powers of sin, death and the devil are defeated. The power is destroyed yet their reality continues. Therefore, as the body of Christ we go into the midst of death, sin and evil proclaiming Christ, announcing forgiveness, working for peace and justice.

Just think, then author Garrison Keillor would no longer call us "shy Lutherans." "Daring Lutherans" living God's promise would be far more appropriate.


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