I rolled out of bed this morning still feeling heavy from last nights dinner. Smash-burgers, topped with jalapeño pimento cheese and served with a side of sliced potatoes fried in beef fat, will do that to you. I hit the shower at 5:30am and was sipping a cup of Sumatra before the day dawned and it dawned drowsily with cool temperatures, a misty rain and an overcast sky. The weather wasn’t offering any perk to my morning and neither were the contents of my French press. This is the kind of day where you feel like you never really wake up.
The boys were ready to leave for work at eight so we loaded in the van and stopped by a coffee shop for them as they were “feeling it” like I was. Our playlist consisted of nothing but the sound of rain on the windshield and the wipers wiping it off.
But my oldest son Ethan brought up some things that he had been thinking about since Sunday two days ago. I had preached about how that the people of Genesis chapter 11 were building a great city and a tall tower to garner a great name for themselves and to create a unified culture—purposely without God. I went on to explain that identity, utopia, and cultural impact must be intrinsic to our being made in the image of God due to the fact that the same desires that these ungodly people hoped for are actually promised to Abram in the very next chapter:
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).
Pretty amazing. Then, as you might imagine (if you know me), I rambled on to chapter 17 of Genesis to connect all of this to circumcision/baptism in which circumcision once represented the sign of God’s covenant to Abraham and his descendants (that they would get all of this) and then explained that the same is true of baptism today. It was, I think, a pretty good sermon.
As the boys and I talked about this we further observed that, in Genesis 11, God came down but didn’t lift anyone up. But when Jesus came down in life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension—He raised us all up with Him.
I have to say that this conversation surpassed all of our imbibed caffeine and kicked in on an inspirational and spiritual level. To have such an early morning symposium about the sign that we have received in baptism, that we are God’s people, and that in Christ we have such an identity and can live in peace, joy, and love with one another and that our pursuit of living as Christians makes for a spiritual but also a visible manifestation of The City set on a hill whose light cannot be hid and that instead of ‘building our own honor, we are glorifying God’s holy name…Well!
So, I thought after I dropped the boys off at their job, I’d grab another cup of coffee and write this down for you. I’m not sure how your day is going but I encourage you to face it like the person God has made you. Fight back against any fear, gloom, pain, disappointment, or complacency with these biblical truths. Bolster them with hymns and Psalms. Talk out loud to your heavenly Father. We are not a people that live under the weather or under circumstances. We are those who have been raised to heavenly places in Christ Jesus.