We were at the grocery store the other day doing our grocery shopping. While I was waiting for my lovely wife to pick out the right kind of yogurt, I noticed a very interesting drink that was available for purchase. It was a drink made from Kombucha (fermented fruit juice) and Chia Seed Elixir.
On the packaging, its promises were impressive. Renewal. Rebirth. Awakening. Sounds nice. I thought it might be worth the $3 to be a completely changed person.
I drank it...and I was disappointed. No reawakening to discover something new about myself. No renewal to start the next round of pastoral house calls at 8pm on a Sunday. No rebirth to totally change my lifestyle that night.
Just a funny aftertaste.
Now I'm not against a healthy lifestyle. But I wonder if those of us who are feeling tired, incomplete, and in need of a 'do-over' in are looking for rebirth and renewal in the wrong spot.
But who's going to offer real renewal? Who's going to give me good chances? Who can really undo the past and make me look forward to the future?
God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)
In other words: God can.
And God does it through nothing less than the very thing we've been talking about all week: Baptism.
Baptism brings rebirth! It works faith. Through this visual, tangible, physical Gospel if Christ's love for them, the Holy Spirit works faith! This is the promise we just read. This means that in baptism, a person is reborn. Their first life -- a life of hatred and hostility toward God is replaced. In its stead, is a new, faith filled life of love and thankfulness toward our Gracious Lord.
Baptism brings renewal too! Because everyday we live our lives, (even as Christians) we sin. We return to our old sinful ways. We act like enemies of God. We feel like failures.
Then, we remember your baptism. Remember God's promise specfically made to you. Remember that Jesus died for you and in him your sinful self died as well. Remember that Christ was reborn in the tomb on Easter morning and through the intimate connection of Baptism so were you!
In Baptism, you are new. You are reborn. You are renewed. You find motivation for the new day, the next hour, even the upcoming moment!
So where do you turn when you are in need of renewal? Stop looking to human manufacturing giants. Instead, look to your Lord and the promise he already gave you in Baptism.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, please forgive me for all the times that I look to other places and things for renewal. You are the only one who grants that. In fact, you won it for us on the cross and you brought it to us through baptism. Lord renewal my heart daily with remembrance that I have been reborn in you. Help me to live out the rest of this day in thanksgiving to you and in accordance with this new life. Amen.