Across the Pastor’s Desk: Carry on mission and ministry

Published 8:00 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Ken Jensen

For those who worship in churches that follow the common lectionary, we will hear once again this Sunday the story of Jesus’ baptism. Last Sunday it was from Matthew’s gospel. This Sunday it will be referenced in John.

Kenneth Jensen

I am reminded of the story about a 2-year-old boy who was baptized during Sunday worship. The pastor placed his hand on the child’s head and pronounced, “You are a child of God, sealed by the Spirit in your baptism, and you belong to Jesus Christ forever.”

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Unexpectedly, the little boy looked up and responded, “Uh-oh.”

His pastor would describe that moment as a “stunning theological affirmation” from the mouth of a child.

The kid was right. Baptism ought to be an “uh-oh” event. It is more than a rite-of-passage we go through, be it in the earliest stages of life as an infant, a child or many years later as an adult.

Baptism is a religious ritual whereby we are initiated into the family of God and as members of the body of Christ, the church. We were “born again,” as it were, anointed and gifted with the life-giving Holy Spirit within. When we stop to think about it … it is a big deal. It is a really big deal!

Being part of the church carries responsibilities with it. It means we love and care for one another as believers in Christ. It means we love and care for those who are not part of the Christian family nor of our ethnic culture.

It means we care for this planet and the world for which Christ died. It means we carry on the mission and ministry of Jesus. It is no small thing. It is a life-time commitment. Come to think about it … it is an “uh-oh” moment.

Ken Jensen is a retired ELCA pastor living in Albert Lea.