Friday, February 27, 2009

Day Four- Saturday, February 28

I Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you-- not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

One of the most interesting things to consider when looking at lectionary texts is the way in which they fit together or intersect in truly remarkable ways. As we look ahead to the first Sunday of Lent, the texts that we've explored for the past two days are the lectionary texts for tomorrow (Sunday.) reading the account of God's covenant with Noah from Genesis 9 and the upcoming gospel lesson (Mark 1:9-15), allows us to hear these watery passages. Noah and his family were saved from water. We, Christ's family, are saved through water, and this passage from First Peter asserts that the true saving power of baptism comes not through water but through Christ's resurrection. Baptism plays a critical role in the Christian faith, transforming the way in which we view life, death, and what it means to be accompanied, challenged and strengthened by power of the Holy Spirit.

Affirmation of Faith
based on 1 Peter 3:18-22

Washed in the saving waters of baptism,
we give thanks for the ark of the church.
Joined to the faithful of all times and places,
we proclaim the suffering of Christ for the sins of all.
We rejoice and trust that:
the righteousness of Christ brings us to God,
the death of Christ proclaims God's love,
the resurrection of Christ awakens our spirits,
and the ascension of Christ enthrones him as Lord.
Therefore, with a good conscience and obedient lives,
we proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ-- even if for that faith we must suffer. So be it!
(Affirmation by G. Oliver Wagner, pastor, Montoursville Presbyterian Church, Montoursville, PA)

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