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Dencos; How would you explain Baptism to a group of people who are considered disabled, most intellectually and a few physically? There are many men and women in this group who are both physically and intellectually disabled and who never have had the opportunity to be part of a faith community that is designed for them. It is centered in a day program for adults and run by a state endorsed agency of the Lutheran Church. I have agreed to be their chaplain and the pastor to counselors, aids and friends. Now we are going the next step and becoming their church.
At Advent we took a look and unpacked hope, peace, love and joy as it surrounded the birth of Jesus. This week the liturgical calendar turns our minds and hearts to lent. Both are similar in preparing the way. My mission - if and when I accept it is to prepare the way for our friends to accept Christ as their personal Savior; and enable the disabled to express their faith. At the end of the year one of my friends at the church asked when anointing with oil first came to happen. I had to dig a bit to find the passage-
Oil and Baptism
The holy anointing oil became a part of the ordination of the priesthood and the high priest as well as the articles of the tabernacle (Exodus 30:26) and the temples in Jerusalem. Anointing with the holy anointing oil was to cause the anointed persons or objects to become qodesh – most holy (set apart for God) (Exodus 30:29). Originally the oil was used exclusively for the priests and the Tabernacle articles but was later extended to include prophets and kings (I Samuel 10:1). It was forbidden to be used on an outsider (Exodus 30:33) or to be used on the body of any common persons (Ex. 30:32a) and the Israelites were forbidden to duplicate any like it for themselves (Ex. 30:32b).
Sometimes anointing is what a Pastor does when ministering to people who have made a declaration of faith in Christ. This goes back to the story found in the New Testament of John the Baptist found in Matthew 3:1-10, Mark 1:2-6 and in Luke 3:1-14. People who are making the declaration that they belong to Christ are putting their faith in hope of what Jesus taught, what Jesus is doing and what Jesus will do. We prepare for His return by studying hope, by preparing for peace; by defining our love for him and each other and finding joy even in our afflictions! So while John the Baptist knows that his job is to prepare people with hope, peace, love and joy, he believes that Jesus will baptize him. But Jesus has other plans. People came to John, confessed their sins and were baptized. It is important that we confess our sins and say we are sorry for things we have thought and done.
There is a beautiful prayer that has been in the church for centuries that does that has been set to music.
Confession- We are all sinners saved by Jesus Christ
I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have sinned through my own fault- in my thoughts and in my words, what I have done- what I have failed to do and I ask for you to pray for me to the Lord our God. Lord have mercy- Lord have mercy on me (Repeat) Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy on me.
So John has this cry in the desert - and he starts a story in their lives and our lives.