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Romans
6:3-11

 
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
 
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)
Alleluia! Before the Throne
Thursday of Easter 3
14 April 2016
On Easter Sunday one of the grade school-aged boys of my parish approached me and asked, "How long is Easter?" He was genuinely delighted when I told him it lasted fifty days until Pentecost and that the season of the resurrection is 10 days longer than Lent. Many people think Easter is over on Easter Sunday. Such people miss the joys of the church's immersion in the new life of Christ throughout the season that only comes to a close at Pentecost. In another way, Easter is never over. We live always in the light and life of the resurrected Christ. The church always lives on the other side of the open tomb.
 
Even at Lent there is no going back, as though Christ can be crucified anew and placed into the tomb all over again. Indeed, Lent does not repeat Christ's death, but is about our death to sin in holy baptism. Easter brings us the source of our life. This is the life given to us in holy baptism from which we are raised to newness of life. So Christ's death and resurrection are played out every day in which we live in repentance and new life through our baptism. The Easter life is lived every day until at last the Easter feast is celebrated around the throne of the Lamb slain.

 

Martin Luther

"The significance of baptism is a blessed dying to sin and a resurrection in the grace of God, so that the old man, conceived and born in sin, is there drowned, and a new man, born in grace, comes forth and arises. Thus St. Paul, in Titus 3, calls baptism a 'washing of regeneration' (Tit 3:5), since in this washing a person is born again and made new. As Christ also says, in John 3, 'Unless you are born again of water and the Spirit (of grace), you may not enter into the kingdom of heaven' (Jn 3:5). For just as a child is drawn out of his mother's womb and is born, and through this fleshly birth is a sinful person and a child of wrath (Eph 2:3), so one is drawn out of baptism and is born spiritually. Through this spiritual birth he is a child of grace and a justified person. Therefore sins are drowned in baptism, and in place of sin, righteousness comes forth.
 
"This significance of baptism-the dying or drowning of sin-is not fulfilled completely in this life. Indeed this does not happen until man passes through bodily death and completely decays to dust. As we can plainly see, the sacrament or sign of baptism is quickly over. But the spiritual baptism, the drowning of sin, which it signifies, lasts as long as we live and is completed only in death. Then it is that a person is completely sunk in baptism, and that which baptism signifies comes to pass.
 
"Therefore this whole life is nothing else than a spiritual baptism which does not cease until death, and he who is baptized is condemned to die. It is as if the priest, when he baptizes, were to say, 'Lo, you are sinful flesh. Therefore I drown you in God's name and in his name condemn you to death, so that with you all your sins may die and be destroyed.' Therefore Paul, in Romans 6[:4], says, 'We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death' (Rm 6:4). The sooner a person dies after baptism, the sooner is his baptism completed. For sin never ceases entirely while the body lives, which is so wholly conceived in sin that sin is its very nature, as the prophet says, 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me' (Ps 51:5). There is no help for the sinful nature unless it dies and is destroyed with all its sin. Therefore the life of a Christian, from baptism to the grave, is nothing else than the beginning of a blessed death. For at the Last Day God will make him altogether new."

Martin Luther, The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism, 4
 
Prayer
O Christ, You live that I might die to sin every day through the power of my baptism into You. Grant that I might live that blessed death until sin is destroyed and I cry "Alleluia!" before Your throne. Amen.
 
For the family of Jason Schockman, whose wife was bereaved of her grandmother, that they might be comforted by the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come
 
For Mary Vidal, that she would be restored to health and strength
 
For all those who are unemployed, that God our heavenly Father would endow them with a vocation suited to their gifts
 
For husbands and wives, that they might live in peace and harmony in the bonds of holy marriage
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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