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Letter to the Editor: Welcome the Afghani Refugees but Know the Problems

Welcome the Afghani Refugees But Know the Problems   Dear Sir, There is widespread sympathy for resettling Afghans into Britain fleeing from tyranny and persecution and I am supportive of it. Many of them are Muslims and will have every facility to follow their...

Letter to the Editor: Irrational Optimism

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Letter to the Editor: Covid Restrictions

  Covid Restrictions Dear Sir,  I refer to the letter in Issue 8084 entitled ‘Power belongeth unto Christ’ which Scripturally outlines where all power belongs and exposes the inconsistencies of our Government and their COVID restrictions on the public worship of...

Free Presbyterians Protest COP26 Visit of Pope Francis

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Episcopal Church Pays $4,500,000 to Diocese of Ft Worth

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Report from Anglican Ink on Episcopal Church Legal Spending

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Pilgrim’s Process: Common Grace by Peter Sanlon

Pilgrim’s Process  By Peter Sanlon Common Grace Loving God is so important for satisfaction and joy in life, that it is easy to mistakenly think only spiritual concerns are important in life. There are many ways for this error to arise: We can think the only truly...

Church in Wales Embraces the Zeitgeist

The Church in Wales Embraces the Zeitgeist Meeting on Monday 6 September, the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, voted to approve same-sex blessings but stopped short of approving marriage. The change does not allow for same-sex marriages in a Church in Wales...

The History of Christianity in Britain and Ireland

The History of Christianity in Britain and Ireland From the first century to the twenty-first Gerald Bray Apollos, 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-78974-120-9, 693pp) Throughout his long academic career Bray has ably straddled both doctrine and ecclesiastical history, so it is no...

Anglican Futures: Knitted Together In Love

Anglican Futures "Knitted together in love" - Should Christian Communities be 'Thicker'? The terms 'thick' and 'thin' have been used by sociologists and political scientists to describe cultures  for decades.  Thick cultures are socio-centric; they tend to be...

Pilgrim’s Proces: Baptism Depths of Meaning by Peter Sanlon

In my last column we looked at the Lord’s Supper.  Today, we take a look at the other sign our Lord Jesus instituted among us.  These signs, or sacraments, which God gives his people are both simple and profound. In their simplicity, God’s grace is powerfully pictured. In their profundity, there is polyvalent meaning. So baptism clearly and compellingly speaks to us of God’s grace in washing us clean of our sin. The imagery of water  used to wash is universal and timeless. So as pilgrims journeying to heaven we are reassured that God has washed us, as baptised people, from the sin that would hold us back.

Since God is infinite in wisdom, his communications to us are profound and have delightful depths. So baptism feeds and equips us for our pilgrimage in many ways: Baptism is linked with God washing away the idols that soften beguile and seduce us. ‘From all your idols I will cleanse you.’ (Ezk. 36:25) Baptism is not a once for all magical automatic removal of idols – for baptism is linked with ongoing teaching and discipleship. 

So Jesus said, “Make disciples of all nations, baptising them and teaching them to observe all that I commanded.” (Mt. 28:19-20) Baptism looks back not only to the death of Jesus but also reassures us of our certain future resurrection (Rom. 6:4-5). Baptism is the shared mark of membership that belongs to all God’s people – as a result our valuing of baptism is one way we cultivate unity. There is ‘one baptism.’ (Eph. 4:5)

Whether we were baptised recently or decades ago, all pilgrims need sometimes to be reminded of their baptism. We ponder it not to prize a fossilised tradition, nor to repeat endlessly a simple lesson that is clear to all. Rather we appreciate more and more the depths of meaning and encouragement God gives us in his visual word to us. Sin, disunity, idols, and ignorance beset us in many ways and at varied times. Our shared baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit directs our hearts to God’s grace, teaching and the gift of one another, which helps us along.

Our Lord Jesus was himself baptised – it surprised John that his Lord would humble himself to that. One reason he did this was to alert us to the fact that baptism is one of the gifts God gives his people, that we are to cherish, value and celebrate. The benefits for all of our earthly pilgrimage are manifold. So wonderful are they – that we are not to keep them to ourselves. A baptised people is a missionary people. So Jesus said, ‘Make disciples of all nations, baptising them…”

Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

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