November 29, 2010

baptized by fire

Baptisms have become quaint events. Babies dressed in long, white (expensive) gowns get sprinkled with a couple of drops of water in the midst of beautiful liturgies. The symbols of baptism, however, are far from quaint. Dying to self by drowning in a tomb of water only to be raised to new life in Christ are not the things of Victorian picture books.

John the Baptist understood the significance of baptism in Jesus, the one who would come to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Being baptized with fire is a life long encounter with the living God; burning away the impurities like a refiner's fire. It isn't easy and it isn't quaint, but it is the stuff of Good News.

This Advent, as a semi-penitential season, I'm thinking about those areas of my life that are like chaff that need to be thrown into the fire. After all, repentance is the way to salvation.

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