Tuesday, January 4, 2011

βαπτίζω - Death, Burial and Resurrection

I had the joy and privilege to participate in the baptism of Eimear Murphy on Sunday the second of January. Baptism is always such a joyous occasion. Being buried with Christ and raised up with Him to the newness of life. A visible demonstration of a spiritual reality.

The place for the baptism was at small river by the Inniscarra cemetery in Co. Cork. Cemeteries are a most appropriate location for baptisms, since baptism is a picture of death, burial and resurrection in Christ.

Gregory of Nazianzus (d. A.D. 390) delivered a famous festive oration on the Baptism of Christ wherein he makes mention of the uniqueness of Christ’s baptism and how John the Baptist struggled to allow it. Using Paul’s analogy of Christ as the second Adam, Gregory explained how Christ’s baptism figuratively presents to us the failure of Adam turned into the victory of resurrection which reunites the faithful into communion with God.
"As yet [as] John is baptizing, Jesus approaches, perhaps also to sanctify the baptizer, and certainly to bury the old Adam in the water, but [John] the Baptizer does not accept it; Jesus debates with him. ‘I need to be baptized by you’, the lamp says to the Sun, the voice to the Word, the friend to the Bridegroom, the one above all born to women to the First Born of all creation, the one who leaped in the womb to the One worshipped in the womb... But Jesus [is baptized and] comes up again out of the water. For he carries up with himself the world and ‘sees the heavens opened’ which Adam closed for himself and for those after him, as he also closed paradise by the flaming sword."

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