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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Baptism: Wednesday

"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" Philippians 1:29

My mother asked whether she should bring flowers for my baptism on Sunday. I told her to buy funeral wreaths. A joke, of course.

Yes, some Christians do buy flowers for friends who get baptised. Fittingly, it is a day of celebration and rejoicing. Baptism is an identification with Jesus' resurrection, which means victory over sin and death; freedom from guilt and shame; abundant life and purpose.

It is also identifies with Jesus' suffering. And that is no joke.

I can't say I have suffered for Jesus. My mom, at one point, forbade me to go to church and told me off severely for converting. I was told by a friend that somebody wanted to beat me up for starting a prayer meeting in my army camp and talking about Jesus. That didn't happen. I was asked to resign from my first job as I refused to edit religious material that was contrary to my beliefs.

Thats about it. The people who sniggered, mocked and ridiculed me for my faith don't really count. Their opinions don't matter.

I'm glad that my faith doesn't require me to suffer for suffering sake, but to suffer for His sake. In the history of the faith, there have been many many martyrs. People were and are still being killed, simply because they believe. Countless others suffered threats, exiles and all sorts of mental and physical anguish for their faith. Till this day.

I have no doubts that people in other faiths suffer for their religion. But my faith is unique in that my Savior, my God Himself, suffered and died for the sins of the world. And for my sins.

Even when I understand, in my head, the heritage and the identity of the suffering Christian, I am afraid to be found wanting, when it comes to the crunch. I am a coward, in more ways than one. I am not a fan of physical pain. I seek comfort, not sorrow.

But I'm speculating, because I have not faced mortal danger for my faith yet. The Christian life is a mystery. I am grateful for God the Holy Spirit who comforts me and gives me strength. by His grace, I might do the right thing in fearful circumstances. Or I might fail. Miserably. Acutely. Feelingly.

God, I know I'm called to suffer. I'm not ready yet.

Make me ready.


At 2/23/2005 08:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isaiah, congratulations. cat.


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