Notes from the Intern…
“New year, new me!” I have said those silly words before—just as the clock strikes 12 and I welcome in a new year. They are usually paired with some plan for a better or healthier life—a new year’s resolution. I call the words silly not because change is something to be discouraged but because we create arbitrary start times for that change to occur. “Well, 2022 will be different—no more lies.” “I’ll start going back to church in January.” “Maybe I’ll sign up to serve coffee hour in 2022.” “I’ll be a whole new person then!” All good ambitions but ones unnecessarily pushed into the future. As Christians, we need not wait for the arbitrary start date of January first—God grants us a new beginning, a new life, through the waters of baptism.
And to this you may think, “well that’s swell but it's been quite some time since my baptism.” To which I say, “Remember your Catechism!” In his Explanation of Baptism, Martin Luther reminds us that our baptism is ongoing. We may have begun the act as a baby but it will only be completed by Jesus Christ at our grave. In this endless washing, God offers the Church a chance to be reborn each day—each moment if you truly wish. Luther writes that in the waters of Baptism “the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” Now those are dramatic words, but God’s action in the Sacrament of Baptism is just as extreme and dramatic—we die and are born again. In living, there is no arbitrary start time for us to wait for, we simply live. In our desire to repent, to see our neighbors as ourselves, to worship God, there is no time for us to wait for, we simply can at any moment. Luther’s reminder has power on the bad days; the days we lie and cheat or feel distant from God or our neighbor. We need not wait for a sign or day because we have already been invited by God into a blessed union with Him
So as you think about a New Year’s resolution for 2022, remember that although the first of a month may be a good time to start a gym membership or subscription to a cheese of the month club—there is no need to wait for matters of faith and service.
Luther Seminary '23
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