RCL C Proper 7 Complementary
Isaiah 65:1-9, Psalm 22:18-27, Galatians 3:23-29, Saint Luke 8:26-39

We are about to do something radical. We are about to do something significant. We are about to Baptize three children. And what we do today will have consequences for them, for their families, and for this parish.

The children will come away with a new identity. Their families, including this parish, will come away with new responsibilities. None of us will be exactly the same when all is said and when all is done. We should be ready for that.

The Epistle today leaves little doubt about all the things that are happening today. Saint Paul tells the Galatians that “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”[1]

Rebekah, Jakob, and Katherine will soon leave their old identities behind. No longer are they named Sinner, but they will be named Christ, for they are soon to be his, and his own, for ever. They are Christ, for they are to be clothed with him. Christ will be in front of them—the aim they share in this life. Christ will be beside them—the encouragement they need as they grow and mature, and as they develop more and more like him. And Christ will be behind them—the safety they have when the footing becomes slippery and when they are tempted to slip. He will be there for them.

The Apostle reminds us all that, in virtue of our Baptism into Jesus, we lose those things that distinguish us. We become one with him because he dwells is us, and we dwell in him.

And we who venture to do these things in Christ’s Name need his presence and his love just as they do. For we are promising to conform our ways to his ways not to gain anything from the transformation, but we promise to conform our ways to his ways so that we can be worthy examples of Christ to them and to rear them in the ways that will lead them to life eternal. For they are precious to the Lord, whose promise to them is “the new life of grace”[2] that is the inheritance of every child of God.

[1] Galatians 3:27-29.

[2] BCP, page 308.

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