Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Baptismal JOY in the OT!

Reading time: two minutes. Okay, technically it’s not baptismal joy.  Maybe covenant joy would be more correct, but the point is the same. When we forget who we are, the beloved and redeemed children of the heavenly Father, we lose the joy.  When we remember who we are by the grace of God, we rejoice! I’ll be walking through the Wellness Wheel again over the next eight weeks and as we celebrate the continuing joy of Easter, I thought I’d focus in on stories from scripture of God’s children rejoicing over His joy-producing gifts. I was surprised that the first stories I thought of were all from the Old Testament.  Let’s start with the joy of renewal in the life of King David.  His sins couldn’t have been much greater.  He had forgotten who he was: the Lord’s anointed.  He didn’t act like a leader of the people.  He didn’t come close to any of the rules for covenant living.  His adulterous affair with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah appear to be his own personal attempt at checking every one of the commandments off of his list. But there is grace, and the forgiveness of sins was David’s great joy.  After the full weight of the law crashed down on him (“YOU are the man,” declared Nathan), David responded with sincere, Spirit-led repentance.  He believed God’s promise of forgiveness. He remembered who he was. And as a forgiven sinner, restored to fellowship with the Lord of mercy, he reclaimed his heritage, a tradition of joy. Listen to his plea from the words of Psalm 51: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;  wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:7-12) His return to fellowship with God meant a return to who he truly was, by the grace of God’s covenant promise. And children of the heavenly Father are children of joy. Over Easter weekend, you may have participated in the renewal of baptism through a formal rite, such as the one traditionally practiced at the Saturday Easter Vigil.  When you sincerely confessed your sins, checking off every last commandment, you aligned yourself with David, the sinner. And when you sang songs of rejoicing on Easter Sunday with all the saints across the globe, you remembered your baptismal heritage.  That’s baptismal health. It’s a heritage of joy.  May God fill you with the Spirit’s gift of joy in this blessed season and always. Thanks for reading.  Subscribe to Blog Are you interested in helping bring a Grace Place Wellness Retreat to your region?  We’d love to hear from you.  Contact our President/CEO Randy Fauser today to begin exploring the possibilities.  Let’s have a conversation about bringing our Church Worker Retreat to your area soon!