Each Easter Sunday we celebrate the risen Christ, but we also welcome new members into the church community through Baptism. In infant baptism, the child becomes a member of the Church so that they will have help and encouragement to grow up and serve Christ by the grace of God. The entire congregation participates by renewing their own baptismal vows.
After hearing God’s call to come for baptism, the next question we are asked is “Do you renounce all evil influences and powers that rebel against God?”
I’d always raced past the uncomfortable question, but this year it rang out loudly. As I examined by own heart, I admit that I try to avoid evil influences, but rarely renounce them publicly.
What is my fear? Is it a fear of losing “friends” or being persecuted as a Christian? Perhaps the human desire to “fit it” lasts a lifetime. I’ve had family members or business associates who told obvious lies. Was I too embarrassed to admit how much I had trusted them, or was it a fear that they had power over me and would crush my spirit if I dared to speak up?
King David consoles us in Psalm 11. Although we can no longer count on a world order where good triumphs over evil, he reminds us, “In the Lord I take refuge.” King David dismisses the fearful advice that we should run away to the mountain and isolate ourselves from evil.
I am comforted that, “God observes everyone on earth, his eyes examine them…On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur, a scorching wind will be their lot.”
We are emboldened to stand up for what is right and publicly denounce evil, knowing that in the end, God will punish the wicked, and only “the righteous will see his face.”
Blessings, my friend,
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