IF:Equip Genesis 17:1-14,22-27
Video Commentary by Kelly Minter & Trilia Newbell can be viewed here
IF I believe this to be true then:
What does it mean about God?
God does not leave us as we are. God joined into a relationship with Abram and through that relationship Abram is changed. To signify that change God gives him a new name and a sign to show the permanent change in his life and the lives of his family members. Once again God says that Abraham will be a nation and that God will bless his descendants with the land. God does not need to be reminded, but at this point Abraham sure does. He's taken matters into his own hand and with the blessing of his wife, taken a slave woman as a bride and she is expecting. Abraham thinks this will be his heir, but God has promised a child by Sarai. (Whose name is also changed to Sarah and to whom the blessing is extended as well, why did they leave that part out of the reading?)
What does it mean about me?
Baptism is the outward sign of the inward action of the Holy Spirit in my denomination. It is a sign that you are a child of the covenant. That is why we baptize infants, to show that it is the work of God, not anything we can earn or deserve. I was baptized at 6 weeks old and while I obviously don't have any memories of the actual events, my mom was great at showing me the pictures and talking with me about it and how important it was to my family and church community. My church really lived into its baptismal vows and I hope that the church I am serving does as well.
What does it mean about the world?
God does not forget God's promises to the world. God is faithful. God gave the sign of circumcision as a way to remind the people whose they were. This covenant sign was not original to Abraham. I have read that there were other groups who did this. But God re-purposed this sign and gave it new meaning to Abraham and those who would come after.
So here we have a sign that is to remind humanity of God's covenant and what happens? Humans argue about weather or not is necessary in order to be saved. Today some have the same argument over the mode and method of baptism, is one more binding or genuine than another. Wow, we people of God know how to turn a good grace filled thing into a problem, don't we!