3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
It turns out that I was baptized twice, once by my biological parents, only a few weeks after my birth (they had planned on keeping me) and the second time by my adoptive parents (as they did not know my history). When I found this out after meeting my biological father, I joked that this made me extra holy! However I do not believe that it is Baptism that makes us holy, and that we are loved by God regardless of whether or not we have been baptized.
I consider myself to be a main-line Christian. I was brought up in the Lutheran Church, educated in at both a Lutheran College, and Seminary, and fortunately I believe what the Lutheran church teaches: that we do not make a choice for God, instead God has chosen us to be His children, and that through Christ, God has made a commitment to us, and our Baptism is a sign of that commitment, as it is our welcome into God’s family!
As the children of God we have been made a part of the great promise of God’s love…love that comes to us from above, through Christ, and is then shared with each other. Love that is ours without having to earn it…love that we have no choice over, as it is given to us through the Spirit, who immerses us in God’s grace.
It is because we have no choice in the matter that I believe that God’s commitment to us can be compared to the commitment we have made for our own children: made out of love, a love that our children could not earn on their own and could not choose for themselves, but that we have given them as a gift!
I would hope that every parent has made such a strong commitment to their children, but sadly, that is not the case; however, having taken on the role of being a single parent we have made a real commitment to our children, one that has called upon us to make sacrifices for their happiness…sacrifices that we would gladly make over and over again!
We have given up a lot for this commitment to our children, but we have gained so much more because of it! We have gained a deeper bond with our children, given the opportunity to get close to them, share more of our lives with them, and to grow up with them. I know that being a single father has made me a better person, more caring, more compassionate, more thoughtful and it has also given me a stronger faith in God’s love and presence in my life…all I need to do is look at my daughter to know that there is a loving God.
Just as we have gained from our commitment of love to our children, so has God has gained from the made to us commitment to us, through Christ, after all our relationship with God is not one-sided, but is in three parts: between God, ourselves and each other! This is why it was so important for God to come to us through Christ, for God needs us like we need our children, for love is not really valuable unless it is shared!
And in the sharing of this love, this great commitment of God for us, there is re-birth: as we are promised a new life through the resurrection of Christ, just as many of us have experienced a new life as single parents.
Let Us Pray:
God, thank you for making us a part of your commitment of love through the gift of Christ. Please help us to share this gift with our children as well as with each other…keeping in mind that our relationship with you has everything to do with our relationship with each other. Let us remember that love is most valuable when it is shared with each other, and that in this sharing we are all made a part of the new life promised to us through Christ.