God Loved the World (ELW 323, focus on verse 4)
1 God loved the world so that he gave
his only Son the lost to save,
that all who would in Him believe
should everlasting life receive.
2 Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,
who was made flesh and suffered death;
all who confide in Christ alone
are built on this chief cornerstone.
3 If you are ill, if death draws near,
this truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus rescues us from death;
that is the firmest ground of faith.
4 Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
forgives all sins that you have done,
and justified by Jesus’ blood,
your baptism grants the highest good.
5 All glory to the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To you, O blessed Trinity,
be praise now and eternally!
Numerous products on the market are designed to protect our identity. Yet even if we find a way to keep our identifying numbers and documents secure, those services can’t assure us of who we are.
Baptism is better than any identity protection service. It gives more than privacy—it grants identity, our true identity as a beloved member of God’s family. The particulars of the baptismal ceremony may vary across Christian traditions, but its intent is the same: to mark each baptized person as part of God’s family, and to seal that identity in a way that cannot be taken away.
That’s the good news that we proclaim in verse four of the hymn “God So Loved the World”: “Baptism grants the highest good.” Better than any score, any membership, any honor, it assures us that no matter where we go or what happens to us, we have a home in Christ.
God of our baptism, you claim us as your own each day through water and the Spirit. Strengthen us on days when we forget that through baptism, you claim us as your own. Amen.