I arise today…
…through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism…
The Lorica of Saint Patrick (St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer)
We talk a great deal about the birth and baptism of Christ in these early weeks of the new year, and both events are quite significant as a part of Jesus’ life and ministry and in teaching us what it means that God truly took on flesh to dwell among us.
Yet with the endless array of theological sermons I could preach on these two events, I’m not sure I’ve ever associated the word “strength” with either. Nor, I confess, have I given much thought to how these two historical moments of Jesus’ life might impact my rising each day.
Birth and baptism are generally associated with the weakness and innocence of children. It has been said that our mothers should be the ones to receive gifts on our birthdays because they did all the work to bring us into the world. They don’t call it “labor” for nothing.
Likewise, in baptism we take a more passive role. In infant or child baptism, the parents and the congregation take vows on our behalf, to raise us in the faith. Even as believer’s who choose to be baptized, we still take on a submissive role by allowing ourselves to be “buried with Christ” in the water so that Christ may raise us up to walk in a new life.
But this strength in which we arise each day is not the strength of our own birth and baptism, but of Christ’s. For Jesus, both of these events are primarily about his identity.
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved,with whom I am well pleased.”
In Christ’s birth and baptism, he is affirmed and reaffirmed as the Son of God. Through our new birth in Christ and by the grace of God poured out upon is in baptism, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.
1 John 3:1a
Through our new birth in Christ and by the grace of God poured out upon is in baptism, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.
To arise in the strength of Christ’s birth and baptism is to arise in the strength of our true identity in Christ as sons and daughters of the Most High God.
When you look in the mirror, can you truly see a son or daughter of God? Why or why not?
What strength might you find today by claiming your true identity through your birth in Christ and your baptism in the Holy Spirit?
As you go through your daily routine, how might others notice your brother Jesus, walking by your side?
Our journey through St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer continues next week:
… I arise today,
through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial …