You Belong

Dear Relatives,

You may remember the episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” in which the Women’s Historical Society had discovered that a living descendant of a Revolutionary War hero was living right in Mayberry. The news generated great excitement and curiosity throughout the town as people made plans for recognizing the hero’s relative. Barney Fife, of course, twisted his own family tree to the point where he put himself in line for the honor. The rest of the townspeople felt special just because someone among them was related to the hero.

Everyone was shocked when the news came. A careful analysis of the genealogical records determined that the hero’s descendent was Otis Campbell the town drunk. Despite instructions to find a “substitute Otis” for the presentation, the real Otis showed up for the ceremony. When the ladies gave him the plaque which they engraved especially for him, Otis gave the plaque to the town. He said, “Just because you’re the descendant of a hero doesn’t make you one. So I would like to present this plaque to the town of Mayberry, to which I am just proud to belong.”

Well, aren’t we all ? Aren’t we all just happy to belong, to be included! We can refer to this part of our baptism as incorporation. We are included, incorporated into the body of Jesus Christ. This incorporation came about as a result of a love that was determined to draw us in. And long after the act of baptism, that love holds us together without ranking us as more or less important, allows us to disagree with each other without deserting one another, and leads us to use our different gifts without any need to compare them with somebody else’s gifts.

May you have some time this week to reflect upon John the Baptist’s ministry, and the invitation to the river. Baptism means we belong.

Still in one peace, and proud to belong!

Pastor David J. Jensen

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