Last Sunday morning, as
did many Christians, we remembered the baptism of Jesus.  We gave thanks for great gifts of grace and
mercy which flow into us and surround us through our immersion in the love of
God made known in Jesus’ life, teachings, death and resurrection.

We said together this

You, O God, are
wonderful and holy,

the Creator of the
world and the Author of Life.

You revealed your
love for us in the history of Israel

and in the life,
death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Through him, you
reconcile, heal, and overcome death.

Your Holy Spirit
energizes your church with grace,

and empowers us to
live like Jesus in the world.

We celebrate the
gift of baptism,

a sign of the womb
of new birth,

of the cleansing
power of your mercy,

of the
thirst-quenching water of your presence,

of the grave in
which shame and guilt die,

and of our
resurrection with Jesus to a life of joy and hope.

We give you thanks
and praise that, with Jesus,

we are your
children, in whom you take great delight,

and that you are
giving us everything we need

to live the lives
you are calling us to live.  Amen.

Sunday night, as part of our “Second Thoughts”
series (conversations about hard questions at the intersection of faith and
life), we explored what it means to be human. 
Though this paragraph might make very little sense without the context
of my whole presentation (it might not make much sense even with my whole
presentation!), here’s my conclusion, which I offered at the outset of my talk:

Human beings live with contradiction and in paradox, beginning
with the simple fact that there are great lines of continuity between us and
animals but that we also have the capacity for transcendence and for God.  We are creatures of the earth, who bear the
image of God.  We are formed by language
and stories.  We have the capacity to
envision a future, to intend certain ways of living in that future, and to have
hope.  We have an immense longing, a
restless and intense yearning, for beauty, meaning and love.  We were made by God for God, who wants our
living to be lively—who wants us to experience abundant, free, and joyful life.

am aware that there are strong and crucial connections between baptism and this
view of what it means to be human.  Christian
anthropology is really another way of doing Christology: we are
most human and most alive when we are most like Jesus.