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Mid-Week with Christ
January 8, 2020

Dead with Christ

Romans 6:1-11

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer for the Day

Almighty Father, you know that on account of sin we cannot live in your presence. We praise you for the gift of baptism, in which we die to sin that we might rise from dead with Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There was a Canadian musical duo in the 1980s called "Frozen Ghost." In one of the songs on their second album they sing:
There's an old man by the traffic light
Selling bibles to all who pass him by
He makes his money
Saving the souls of strangers
To get to heaven
He knows you have to die

I'm not sure Arnold Lanni and Wolf Hassel knew how true their words were (at least the last part). We would very much like to find a path to salvation that avoids traveling the road of anguish and death. We would very much like to find a path back to the Garden of Eden that avoids the flaming swords and angel at the gate.

Some try alcohol. For others, it's sports. Or pills. Or sex. Some are addicted to work, to social engagements, or to thrill seeking. Any shortcut to peace that can distract us from what awaits at the end. But like Frozen Ghost, Paul states the truth: "One who has died has been set free from sin." Death is the path back to true and eternal life. A death that binds us to Christ. A death that comes in Holy Baptism before our natural death. 

At funeral services in our tradition, we face the casket of the departed at the entrance to the sanctuary. It is draped with a white funeral pall, and we recite together the words from today's Scripture: "We were buried therefore with [Jesus] by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Dead men and women can no longer be judged or held accountable for breaking the law. Therefore our deaths in baptism set us free and bind us to Christ. Since death could not hold Christ in his grave, neither can our natural deaths hold us. 
Copyright © 2020 Mission to Quebec and the Caribbean, All rights reserved.

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