Our topic this morning in class was Union with Christ and we spent 75 minutes talking about how baptism is the thick practice that embodies, represents and points us towards the reality that we are united with Christ through the Spirit.
In response to the theological discussion, I opened up the floor and gave space for students to give testimony of their baptisms: when they were baptized, how they were baptized, why they were baptized, and what the significance of their baptism was/is now looking back on it.
We ended the class with a quote from Martin Luther’s fantastic sermon on the Baptism of Jesus. (Oh how I wish we could have read the whole thing!):
Thus, we should cherish baptism, viewing the baptized as newly made or newly created saints. To be sure, baptism is water. But today some are saying it is “plain water.”The devil take them! My dog Tölpel,a wild boar, and a cow know that. But what else is here? Without doubt, in baptism we get God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and all the angels! So, it is no longer “plain water,” but water in which the Son of God bathes, over which the Holy Spirit hovers, over which God the Father preaches….
So we should learn to understand baptism and cherish it, because it contains the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—or even just the name of Christ, as reported in Acts. It is sufficient to be baptized in the name of Christ, because the Father and the Holy Spirit are there [where he is]. So don’t separate the water from the word, but say, “The water is ordained by God to make us pure for Christ’s sake, for the sake of the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are there in the water to purify us from sin and death.” Whoever is in sin, stick them in the baptism[al water], and their sin will be extinguished. Whoever is in death, stick them in the baptism[al water], and death will be swallowed up.
For baptism has divine power, the power to break sin and death. That’s why we are baptized. If later we fall into error or sin, we have not thereby demolished our baptism; we return to it, and say, “God has baptized me, plunged me into the baptism[al water] of his Son, of the Father and the Holy Spirit. There I return, and I trust that my baptism will take away my sin—not for my sake, but for the sake of the man Christ, who instituted it.”
Martin Luther, ““This is My Son, the Beloved”: Sermon on the Baptism of Jesus,” Word & World XVI (1996): 9-10.