Tag Archives: baptism

Martin Luther King, Jr: Sacramental Theologian

We aren’t going to let any mace stop us. We are masters in our nonviolent movement in disarming police forces. They don’t know what to do. I’ve seen them so often. I remember in Birmingham, Alabama, when we were in that majestic struggle there, we would move out of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church day after day. By the hundreds we would move out, and Bull Connor would tell them to send the dogs forth, and they did come. But we just went before the dogs singing, “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.” [applause] Bull Connor next would say, “Turn the fire hoses on.” (Yeah) And as I said to you the other night, Bull Connor didn’t know history. He knew a kind of physics that somehow didn’t relate to the trans-physics that we knew about. And that was the fact that there was a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. [applause] And we went before the fire hoses. (Yeah) We had known water. (All right) If we were Baptist or some other denominations, we had been immersed. If we were Methodist and some others, we had been sprinkled. But we knew water. That couldn’t stop us. [applause]
–“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”; Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
April 3, 1968; Memphis, Tennessee
I’ve been pretty obsessed with the last speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ever since Charlottesville. In preparing for yesterday’s sermon commemorating the baptism of Jesus, I reviewed our commitments as baptized United Methodist Christians (hub of resources here). We all agree to “resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”. This has always sounded good to me.
If I’m going to be more active in the human struggles for freedom and dignity, actually, all I have to do is keep the word I gave at my baptism.

Bible Leads: Luke 3:15-22

TEXT

Luke 3:15-22

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

  1. Watch a woman get baptized in the Jordan River
  2. Loving a son as an older dad.
  3. One man’s experience as a political prisoner
  4. About doves (and pigeons)

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  1. Why do you think Jesus went to be baptized?
  2. When was the last time you heard someone say they were “well pleased” with you?
  3. What does it mean to be baptized with fire?
  4. What do you make of John’s statement about the winnowing fork?

IMAGE

man-417583_960_720


SOUNDTRACK

Spotify Playlist || Follow me on Spotify for Weekly Playlists

  1. Jump in the Fire, by Metallica
  2. Feet in the Water, by The Tree Ring
  3. So Much Water, by M. Ward
  4. These Waters, by Ben Howard
  5. The Unforgettable Fire, by U2
  6. I’m on Fire, by Bruce Springsteen
  7. In Its Infancy (The Waterfall), by My Morning Jacket
  8. The Water, by Wild Cub
  9. Fire’s Highway, by Japandroids
  10. Holy Water, by Soundgarden

HAIKU

Gone under-
never to return
to old ways