When you love somebody, it is no longer yourself who is the center of your own universe.

It is the one you love who is. You forget yourself. You deny yourself. You give of yourself, so that by all the rules of arithmetical logic there should be less of yourself than there was to start with. Only by a curious paradox there is more. You feel that at last you really are yourself.

The experience of salvation involves the same paradox. Jesus put it like this: “He who loses his life for my sake will find it” You give up your old self-seeking self for somebody you love and thereby become yourself at last. You must die with Christ so that you can rise with him. It is what baptism is all about. Frederick Buechner,

A thing that seems strange to the world but was the beginning of Christianity itself. There is a lot of that word, that impression that is integrated into life in our world here in the United States. There are church’s that are named as such. Some faith streams have new born children baptized to ensure they are ‘good to go’ You can think about that and make your own conclusion. Gator has concluded that issue himself. Judgment, Gator is good at that too.

So, another ‘in the beginnings’ story which intrigues everyone. A story that is lightly touched in the world and not really taken to heart in many ways. Not a simple story either. A phenomenon seemingly caused by a man that dressed as though he lived quite a ways ‘north of highway 8 ‘ and had a reputation of eating June bug sandwiches for lunch. An odd fellow that had people enthralled a few thousand years ago. People walked out to see him as he stood in a river. He was very adamant in shouting at them about coming into the river with him. There was also a bit of a decision one had to make before joining this man in the river. Repentance. Not a word used lightly these days and what did it mean to them anyway? Back in those times people were very wicked and did things to one another that were not very nice. Not much has changed since then either. It is a burden for Gator himself to think upon things he has done, thought about doing and things he once thought were pretty good to do.

Back to the story. This man in the river would then ‘help’ the people that were convicted they were a mess go under the river water and ostensibly, help them up. This was called baptism then and is still called that now.

This man called John saw his cousin coming to him to be dunked and cleansed and was astonished. His cousin was at that time a man of no reputation but John knew him well. John also knew his cousin was the creator of all things! The living God, Jesus. John, felt a bit overwhelmed it is written, and said that his cousin should be baptizing him. Nonetheless, he did baptize Jesus and the voice of his cousins father came out loudly proclaiming a father’s great pleasure. (That was God by the way) It got even better for all of us afterwards as well. There was a month and a half of fasting and being tempted for this man Jesus. The things we are tempted with only on a scale of eternity. Ultimate power over the world kind of stuff that we think would make all things right if we had it. We can only imagine the appeal of these things to have, with one caveat, sharing with the tempter this power.

Jesus told the tempter to leave in no uncertain terms and Jesus went on to be seen as King of all things, for eternity. For us.

Baptism. Jack was baptized a while back and the man of God that did that for him looked into the water at Gator’s face. When asked what he saw, he replied “I saw a dead man” Things got better afterwards. Still tempted but now aware of it. Not made right instantly. Quite a ‘bit longer than 40 days’ but a Gator being rebuilt in the spirit. Now knowing a bit about repentance and his weakness, there is great hope and trust emerging in him.

It’s pretty good, Jack Gator

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