Fairmont Presbyterian Church offers both in-person and online worship!
To Care for the Body of Christ:
1. We INVITE everyone who wishes to wear a face mask to do so. Masks are available at each
2. We DO NOT REQUIRE fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks.
3. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND individuals who are not fully vaccinated wear masks.
4. Please observe pew closures and appropriate social distancing.
5. Please wear a nametag.
6. Please love and care for each other.
Casual Worship Service – 8:30am, Fellowship Hall
Traditional Worship Service – 10:30am, Sanctuary
Traditional Online Worship Service – 10:30am, Livestream
Reflection on Scripture
August 13, 2021 – Mark 10:35-44
You are not supposed to talk about death at a baptism. It is considered rather gauche, like talking about a divorce at a wedding. Baptism is supposed to be about family and new life. And it is. The problem is that new family and new life mean letting go of old family and old life and letting go hurts. We tend to cling onto the familiar and predictable. We like control. Baptism is the symbolic, and perhaps actual, ritual of drowning all that, drowning who we once were. We are given a new identity, a new name, literally our given name. And we are ushered into a new family, only a tiny few of whom happen to be alive in the same era as us. We come out the other side dripping wet, but changed. We have literally been through a drowning (that is what the word baptism means in Greek) and have emerged alive, but changed. Now we are the already-been-through-death people, albeit a little wet. And as such people, we do not need to be afraid anymore.
The problem is that more often than not, we do not believe our good fortune. We do not trust the promises we have received. Our fears outweigh our faith. So, we try to muddle through on our own terms. We learn to be competent, competitive, and successful. We strive for achievement and success in order to maintain control over our lives and the immediate world around us. We define ourselves in what we do, accomplish, possess, and control, rather than who we actually are. That fundamental misunderstanding of identity gets us in trouble because we start to lose ourselves along the way.
It got James and John in trouble. These two hot-tempered sons of Zebedee ask Jesus to share in his glory. They do not understand what they are asking for. They want to assume and undertake Jesus’ own baptism, which is fulfilled not over a font, but in wood and nails. They did not, perhaps could not, understand that real power has nothing to do with control or dominion, but rather comes from letting go. And nothing says letting go like getting drowned naked (admittedly, we don’t do it naked any more).
Our lives end, or more accurately begin anew, not in the fulfillment of all our wishes and fantasies but God’s. We can make God in our own image like Mr. Roarke on Fantasy Island fulfilling our wants, but our wants only tend to get us into more trouble. Or, we can let go of our wants and our endless need for control. We can let go of everything we hold on to and instead simply be held. We can renounce all those things we claim to possess and simply be possessed. Down in the murky depths, where everything else is drowned, there is only one thing you can trust. Strong arms embrace you, pull you up and declare for all time and above every other claim, you child, you belong to God.