Bob Woods: Remember the ongoing gift of your baptism

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Remember the duck or remember your baptism?

Mark 1:4-11

A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. He went back to Grandma's backyard, where he spied her pet duck. On an impulse, he took aim and let fly. The stone hit. The duck fell dead. The boy panicked. He hid the dead duck in the woodpile, only to look up and see his sister watching. She had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, "Sis, let's wash the dishes." But Sis said, "Bobby told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn't you, Bobby?" And she whispered to him, "Remember the duck!" So Bobby did the dishes.

Later Grandpa asked whether anyone wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, "I'm sorry, but I need Sis to help make supper." Sis smiled and said, "That's all taken care of. Bobby wants to do it." Again she whispered, "Remember the duck!" Bobby stayed while Sis went fishing.

Several days went like this: Bobby was doing both his chores and Sis'. Finally, he couldn't stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he had killed the duck.

"I know, Bobby," Grandma said, giving him a hug. "I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. I wondered how long you would let Sis make a slave of you."

What's your "duck"?

What "duck" do you keep remembering? What duck do you let remind you every day of your shortfalls and shortcomings? It is so much easier to remember our sins than to recall our salvation. It is easier to see the cracks and broken places in our lives than to feel the strength of God's spirit that has glued us back together.

It's no coincidence that immediately after Jesus' own baptism, Satan appears on the scene to tempt him. Likewise, and in the same way the Devil tempts us to give in to our old weaknesses.

Satan whispered in Jesus' ear, "Remember the duck!"

Satan whispers in our ear, "Remember the duck!"

"Remember, you're a liar!"

"Remember, you're a cheater!"

"Remember, you're a loser!"

"Remember, you're an addict!"

"Remember, you're a failure!"

And we all have "Remember the duck!" people in our lives, people who, like Sis, find it convenient for one reason or another to keep us in our place, people who constantly are whispering in our ear, "Remember the duck!"

Don't listen!

Instead of "Remember the duck!" we need a new whispering in the ear - a new breath of wind that can breeze through us: "Remember your baptism."

In fact, whenever we hear the "Remember the duck!" voice, we need to beat it back with these words: "Remember your baptism."

Remember God's grace.

Remember the water of repentance and rebirth.

Remember the ongoing gift of the Holy Spirit that beckons us into the world to do the impossible for God and the Gospel.

Remember your baptism.

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