Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Exodus 24:1-8 (NRSV)
Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. Moses alone shall come near the LORD; but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”
Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. He sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed oxen as offerings of well-being to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he dashed against the altar. Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” Moses took the blood and dashed it on the people, and said, “See the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Today’s scripture makes me thankful for the sacrament of baptism! Certainly one reason is that I would much rather the idea of receiving a sprinkling of water than a dashing of blood. Another reason is that this passage highlights the importance of rituals in faith. Yes, it is sufficient to make a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior and to promise to be his disciple, just as it would have been enough for the people to promise to obey God’s words the first time around (verse 3). But Moses created an event, a ritual, in which the people made this promise a second time and received the symbol of blood as a sign of the covenant.
We have the ritual of baptism and the symbol of water that turns this confession into a living event in the life of the community. The promise becomes embodied, experienced in a concrete and physical expression of that inner reality. In our baptism, we are claimed by God, and we promise to live as disciples of Jesus, renouncing evil and committing to the kingdom of God. Today as you see, drink or touch water, remember that you have been marked and claimed into God’s covenant family, and commit to fulfilling that covenant in whatever ways you can.
God, we give thanks that you call us into your family, and into community with yourself. We give thanks that in our baptism, you have claimed us as your own, washing away our sin and equipping us with your Spirit. We once again renounce evil and sin and commit to your kingdom, following in the example of your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.