Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ of Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington, and our friends,
Greetings in Christ Jesus, our Lord, who lived, died, was raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven for our salvation!
In July, Vickie and Vanessa and I made a trip to San Antonio, Texas, to welcome into our family a new member, our son, Aaron John. He was born on Friday, July 15th. We drove to San Antonio as soon as we got word that his birth mother was being admitted to the hospital for delivery. We left Wellington around 3pm and got to the hospital in downtown San Antonio around 3am Saturday morning. When we got there, we were able see and hold our new baby boy and spend time with his birth mother. A few days later Aaron was discharged from the hospital. We stayed in Texas until we were allowed to leave the state by law. We returned home last Friday, the 22nd.
On Sunday, July 31st Aaron will be welcomed into another loving family, the family of God, in which all the baptized are adopted members. In the waters of Baptism, Aaron will not only become your brother, he will become Jesus’ brother. He will become a son of God, and will be given the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will dwell in him and preserve him in the faith, as he grows physically and spiritually, “in body and soul”, as the words of the dismissal in Holy Communion say.
On this Sunday, (which will have already passed for most of you reading this newsletter) a miracle is going to happen–the miracle of Holy Baptism. God is going to deliver His promises of salvation in Jesus Christ to a particular baby, in a particular place, in an unmistakable and personal way: by the applying of water connected with His Word. God is going to do His gracious work. God is going to give, and a baby, a particular baby, Aaron John Wingfield, is going to receive. This is how God works, through particular things, in particular places–through water, through bread and wine, through spoken words–through His means of grace. This is the way He brings forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life to you and me.
He doesn’t do it with sweeping philosophical generalities, in fine-sounding platitudes or in inspirational urgings for us to “be all that we can be”. Instead He sends His Son from heaven to die, for you and me. He doesn’t ask you to find Him with your reason or feelings or your spirituality. He finds you with His Word and Sacraments. He claims you for His own in faith, so that you may be His brother or sister, and share His death to sin and His resurrection to eternal life. He does this through His Word, His Baptism, and His Supper, His means of grace.
Why do Lutherans make such a big deal about Holy Baptism? Let’s hear what Martin Luther says, from his Small Catechism: “What benefits does Baptism give? It works the forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.” (Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, 24, CPH, St. Louis, 2008)
That’s why. Because of the wonderful work God does in baptism and the wonderful promises given in it. He promises all these things, rescue from death and the devil, and eternal life, to the baptized. And the baptized receive all these benefits through the faith that receives the promises. God make the promise. God gives the promise. God even gives the faith that receives the promise through the gift of the Holy Spirit. How it all happens is a mystery. But it is true, nonetheless, because God does it.
The question sometimes comes up, “Is it possible for a baptized person to fall from faith and be eternally lost?” The Explanation of Martin Luther’s Catechism, soon to be published by Concordia Publishing House answers this question:
“Yes, it is true that God’s promises in Baptism stand even if we do not believe them. However, all who reject God’s promises to them and die in unbelief have abandoned Baptism and do not receive what God has promised. They will be lost.” (p. 145)
Scripture does show that one can fall away from saving faith. Look up 1 Corinthians 10:1-5, 12; Luke 8:13; 1 Timothy 4: 1, for scripture readings on this.
But God wants you to stay in His promises and in His family of faith forever, so He has given you, His children, a place to regularly renew and strengthen your faith, a place where you can hear His Word preached and where you can receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, where your sins are forgiven in His name, and where you may offer your prayers and grateful praise and offerings to Him. That place is the Church–specifically, particularly, locally, for you, at Calvary Lutheran Church, Wellington, Kansas, every Sunday morning at 10:30.
May God be with you in all your travels this summer, and may He bring you safely back to your homes, and to your church, your faith home. May God finally bring all of us home to be with Him at the end of our journeys through our Baptismal lives, keeping us in the one, true faith, the one true family. Amen.
In Christ our Lord,
Bible Class has been watching a movie, “The Gospel of John” for our summer studies. We watch two chapters every week and have a discussion afterwards.
Ushers We are in need of ushers for this month. Please let the office know if you are able to volunteer.
Aaron John Wingfield, infant son of Pastor and Vickie Wingfield, will be received into God’s Kingdom and family, and given the Holy Spirit of Christ in Holy Baptism this Sunday, July 31st. His sponsors are Jason and Nikki Uffman. Please join us for the reception in the Parish Hall following worship.
Please remember the homebound
Elmer Naasz: 102 W. Botkin
Frances Meyers: 8300 N.W. Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64153
Otto & Norma Fischer: 750 N. Missouri St. Apt 119 Ulysses, KS 67880-1870