October 1, 2023

The Two Holy’s!

The Sacraments of Baptism and Communion are the two holiest, most sacred acts of Jesus Christ, that we as believers mark as pivotal in our Christian faith journey.

Holy Baptism welcomes one – infant, child or adult – into the Christian faith. Inviting and encouraging the newly marked child-of-God to accept and live a life worthy of a brother or sister of Jesus Christ.

Holy Communion – whether celebrated quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily – is that opportunity which Jesus offers believers and followers – to align with him, and his disciples, in service to our church, community, country and the world.

Therefore, Holy Baptism is our beginning and Holy Communion is our continuing as faithful members of the church of Jesus Christ.

Because the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, most generally done in infancy, the baptized child must learn about it witnessing a service of baptism in church and/or leaning about baptism, and it’s importance to the faith, in Sunday School lessons; with sometimes startling results:

as if from the mouths of babes…

“Johnny’s mother stops to watch her son read the Bible to their cat. ‘Isn’t that sweet?’ She says. But an hour later she hears a terrible racket. Running out the door, she finds Johnny stuffing the cat into a bucket of water. ‘What are you doing!?’ – ‘I’m baptizing Muffin,’ Johnny replies. ‘But cats don’t like to be in water!’ his mother exclaims emphatically. ‘Well then, Muffin shouldn’t have wanted to joined my church!’ ”

It’s a truly hilarious story, but it’s not without at least one parallel: You see, as a new pastor, serving the Raymondville United Methodist, there came several new families for membership. One family consisted of grandma and grandpa, bringing their 13 and 5 year old grandsons to church most Sunday’s. It didn’t take long for the grandparents to want to join the church, as full members. The 13-year old had already been baptized, but the 5-year old had not. And so arrangements were soon made to baptize the young boy, on a given Sunday, when the whole extended family could be present.

The date was set and the celebration plans were made, and the family came. However, on the appointed day the screaming 5-year old was not having it!

Finally his mom lovingly intervened for Mikey to come in, just at the time of the ceremony. Teary and shaky the boy arrived – the words were said and the water placed upon his forehead – at which moment he calmed, immediately.

After the service I asked him what had made him so nervous and afraid, to which came the answer you might expect from a 5-year old, with a 13-year old brother:

“He said you were going to take me by the heels and dunk my head down in that bowl of water!”

Poor Mikey, he’s nearing 30 now – I hope his feelings about baptism and the church have changed, for the better…

For people like Mikey and others, wandering and wondering about faith, and it’s importance in their lives, David, the Psalmist, has a word;

Psalm 14:2, 4a, 5b

2. “The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men – to see if there are any who understand, any who sees God.

4a. “Will evildoers never learn…?

5b. “… God is present in the company of the righteous.”

Yes, God is watching you – from a distance…

God knows the desires and motives of your heart…

God knows if you know God! And,

God knows the company you keep!

So, if the company you keep – keeps you from God, maybe it’s time to turn away from the one, and seek to be in the presence of the righteous! God knows where you need to be – do you!?

The beginning of knowing where you need to be, begins with your baptism into the company of God; knowing and believing that you are a child of God!

Your membership in the company of God – the family of faith in Jesus Christ – is sustained and supported and celebrated – communing with one another at Christ’s holy table; stating, “In Remembrance of Me.”

That discipleship table of Jesus’ “Last Supper”

where in Matthew 26:26-28 we read:

26. “… Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’

27. “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and  offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.

28. This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”

In this one act, in this one special meal, Jesus solidifies the place and faith of every believer and participant. So, when you partake of this one meal, you partake of the one true Son-of-God, Jesus Christ. Therefore, together, all present here today, we are truly one-in-Christ Jesus!

This one institution of Christ, this one Holy Sacrament, is know by three different names, and for three different purposes:

1. It is known as the Lord’s Supper, because it commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples, as practicing Jews; the very people-of-God Jesus came to save!

2. It is known as the Eucharist, (from the Greek for thanksgiving), because in it we give thanks to God for Christ’s work of salvation in-and-for us!

3. And, it is known as Communion, because through it we commune with – we come together in faith with – God, and other believers, to eat from the bread of life and drink from the cup of salvation. As we eat this bread and partake of this cup, then, we must always reflect on, who we are in Jesus and who Jesus is within us. And, we must recall that Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, that we might live free from our failings. And, that in Jesus’ earthly death, we have in Him eternal, heavenly life. In the pain of Jesus’ death there is then his promise that he will come again to take us to himself.

Therefore, believers are forever grateful for God’s wonderful gift to us – begun in the sacrament of Holy Baptism, and sustained in the sacrament of Holy Communion – as we joyfully today and every day remember and celebrate The Two Holy’s with Christ and the body of believers; his church!

Therefore, the attitude of every believer must be the same as that of Christ Jesus…

God-Inspired / Christ-Centered / Spirit-Filled


~Pastor Richard Lenz, Sermon, October 1, 2023