Cross-Marked and Spirit-Sealed Children of God

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Romans 6:3

In mid-January I experienced a distinct pleasure that I have had only a handful of times over the last six and a half years of ministry as bishop: I preached and presided at the baptism of Xavier Alan Burkholder, the son of two of this synod’s pastors, Joshua Burkholder and Carolyn Lesmeister. Over the last half dozen years, I have presided at Communion and preached for countless worship services across and beyond this territory. I have presided at somewhere between 35 and 40 commissionings, consecrations, and ordinations. All of these experiences bring me deep joy as a pastor and bishop. But every time I pour the water and Word over the head of a new sister or brother in Christ, I am brought back again to the very essence of who I am and who we are as baptized and beloved, cross-marked and Spirit-sealed children of God. This is the foundation for all our worship, ministry, and service in the world.

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