Serving in a Global Context

In our ‘modern’ world, a common perception is that we are able to connect globally more than ever before. Smart phones, satellites, cyberspace and airplanes make this an easy presumption. Nevertheless, is it true? The bible speaks of a connectedness that far outweighs our handheld devices and all manner of technological connectivity.

READ: Matt 28: 19-20

Through Christ and by his authority, we have a divine calling, a commission to go out to all humanity. The calling connects us with humanity itself.

But just as modern connectivity takes on many shapes and sizes and needs a physical tangible device; i.e. USB ports, power cables, vehicles etc, so too does our calling.

What is the physical connection device in the passage?

Baptism – the water and the word!

So, if baptism is your connection device. What precisely does it connect you to?

Read Ephesians 4:1-15

We find baptism connecting us to the body of Christ, the whole body of Christ, the universal church that we confess in our creeds. And this baptismal connection grants a unity, despite our differences (it doesn’t just make us Lutheran, or Baptists or Pentecostal etc).

The arms are different to the legs; the fingers are different to the toes; yet they are still part of the same body. Just as the differences in the body are celebrated and yet contribute to the unity of the body, so too the many kinds of differences challenging us in our church contribute to its unity.

Read Colossians 2:19 and Romans 12:5. What else do we learn about the body of Christ?

Furthermore, we often only think of the church, and hence our connections, as something that exists on the earth in the now, in the moment. Thinking like this would suggest your baptism connects you to 2 billion Christians out of a total of close to 8 billion people. Not bad, I suppose. But wait, there’s more!

Notice the connection with Christ first. Christ ascends to heaven and takes a host of captives with him (us) (Ephesians 4:8). We are joined now to the heavenly realms too, through our baptism into Christ.

Wow, this is outrageous. Through Christ in our baptisms, we are connected to all the hosts of heaven, the saints who went before, and the saints who shall come behind.

Yet, there’s more! We have only seen one side of the connection.

Read Romans 6: 1-11 and Colossians 2: 12-15 What else does your baptism do for our relationship with Christ?

Baptism joins us to the death of Christ, where the sins of the world – our sins – are accounted to him. In baptism we connect to every sinner of all time, and through it, Christ offers the same forgiveness of sin, the same salvation, to all people.

You will never be more connected, globally or otherwise, than through your baptism!

A final observation. Unlike the cold interface of a modern connection, a socket in the wall that only flows in one direction, baptism is organic and relational – it flows in multiple directions. As we have learnt, it connects us to the person of Christ, his life, death and life again and as we grow into him, we also grow into others in love (Eph 4:16).

Christ’s Baptism connects us cosmically.