You Were Baptized in Water

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When we gather together as the people of God, remember that we are the redeemed of the Lord. Our characteristic note should therefore be one of exuberance and joy. Accept no substitutes, particularly the substitute of carnally generated joy.

We are called to worship God in the joy of the Holy Ghost. We are commanded to rejoice always, and Paul reminds us again, rejoice always. This joy should never be ginned up by external means—shouting amen, singing lustily, hearing the Word with eagerness—but this joy will always express itself by these very same external means.

You were baptized in water, not in prune juice. You are fed bread and wine, not sawdust cakes and ditch water. You hear the Word of God proclaimed, and not the speculations of mere men. You fellowship together with all the saints, in the communion of saints, in the heavenly places, and this is not the fellowship of mere animal spirits.

So what is the difference between overflowing with true joy and ginning up certain emotional sensations by means of liturgical tricks? The difference is repentance. If you have been muttering the amens, or the Lord’s prayer, then the charge is not to speak up, but rather to repent. If you believe that sitting in the back rows or in the bleachers makes you a spectator and not a participant, then repent. If you think that you are a respectful Christian because you are in ideological agreement with certain theological propositions, then repent.

Love God. Hate sin. Love Jesus Christ. Love His Church, love His people, honor His offices and His sacraments. Embrace life. Taste the goodness of God. Drink down your salvation, all of it. Walk in joy.

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