Samuel G. Beltz

Sermon for the Baptism of Charlotte Evangeline Beltz, August 14th 2011

Isaiah 43, Romans 9-11:24, Matthew 15:21-28


Read Romans 9-11:24 from the pulpit.

What I wanted to do immediately after the Baptism of Charlotte was to take the baptismal basin through the main isle there and fling water upon you all and as I was doing that say, “Remember your Baptism and be thankful.”  But then I asked myself the question, “why would I do that?  What is Baptism that it is to be remembered?”  When I was reading through Romans this week, I found a great answer.

In what I just read Paul is not speaking about Baptism when he tells the Romans that they have been grafted into the tree, or at least it does not seem to be his first thought.  For some time in the Epistle Paul has been evangelizing the Romans.  He has been reminding them how they too are now heirs of the treasures of Israel.  How they are included into the kingdom by their faithfulness to and belief in the God and Father of Jesus Christ.  Paul’s primary concern is this, so that the Romans might not become arrogant but always be thankful and humble toward God and one another.  They are to be thankful and humble because they are grafted into the tree not through anything they have done but through the activity of God the Father to graft them onto the tree.

Is God still doing this activity of grafting?  Yes.  Where?  Here.  We have all just witnessed again the mighty power of God.  He has worked here in these waters.  He has done the work we see him do in Jesus Christ in our Gospel lesson.  A woman and her daughter who had no right to the treasures of Israel are brought in according to the mother’s faithfulness in Jesus Christ and that He was the Son of God and could have mercy and help.  She had faith that this Jesus Christ was the one spoken of by Moses and the Prophets.  She heard of his mighty works and believed.  It was the activity of God in and through His Son that led her to cling to Jesus Christ.  So too all of you gather here.  Cling to the activity of God revealed here in these Baptismal waters. 

Today in Baptism You Charlotte Evangeline are brought into the kingdom of Heaven.  You are given the treasures promised by God.  Faith clings to the activities of God.  God has given us these waters as a sign and a specific place so that we might even see and remember what happened there.   What has happened to little Charlotte today has happened to all of you.  Your Baptism is the work of God to graft you into the tree of Salvation which has grown up out of the Stump of Jesse—Jesus Christ

You Charlotte Evangeline are now an heir of the Promises of God according to faith in the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  You are now a branch grafted into the tree of life.  You are now a child of God.  Today, I will not fling water upon you all.  Nevertheless, remember your Baptism this day.  And in the light of this Baptism, let us all continually be thankful for our own, and let us be constant in prayer that we might be kept in the faith of our Baptism until we inherit eternal life.  Amen.