Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Flooded with grace

This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him. - 1 Peter 3:21-22

Todays Old Testament reading from Genesis regarding Noah and the flood is reflected upon in the Epistle reading from St. Peter's first letter to all Christians. What the waters of the flood did was wash away the sin and corruption which had overtaken the world. Through the flood, the earth was regenerated. All was made new.

St. Peter's letter gives insight into the way the Church has viewed the story of the flood as an image whereby we are delivered from sin and death through the waters of baptism. The ark is an image of the Church in which Noah and his family were delivered from death through the waters of the flood. It is through the family of Noah that all the earth will be renewed.

It is interesting to me that some people still deny the saving power of baptism despite the scriptures being fairly straightforward saying that baptism saves. Through the waters of baptism, we are regenerated and made new creations much like the earth after the flood. We die to our former life of sin and are born again to our new life in the Spirit.

Being born again is not simply a vague conversion experience. It is a real act whereby the Church gives birth to her children at the baptismal font. As each of us is born into our human families through water (or amniotic fluid as the case may be), so we are born (again) into our divine family, the Church, through water (and the Spirit). We cannot enter God's family without being "born" any more than we can enter our human families without being "born." It just so happens that we enter our human families first, and we are reborn into God's.

I am truly thankful for the regeneration we experience through the waters of baptism, a regeneration forshadowed by Noah and his family as they were delivered from the sin and death of their former world through the waters of the flood.


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