There are other equally important signs of human life. Signs that are gifts from God, received through Jesus Christ, and made active in our lives through the Holy Spirit. I believe these are the signs of life received at Baptism: Light, Water, Food, Shelter, Community.
Signs that are sacramental, freely given and eternal; signs of a new spiritual relationship with Christ Jesus. Signs that in Baptism we become newly born members of the body of Christ, of the household of God.
Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world.” to all who hear his words. Yet they do not believe. He accuses them of living in darkness like those who are blind. They do not yet see following Jesus’ way will do away with the darkness of disbelief and enflame the light of faith. At Baptism, we came out of darkness into His light.
We cannot see the things of God in the darkness of our doubts, despair, and of the stresses of life. We need help. We need to live in His light. And in that light, we see visions of God’s kingdom.
Jesus asks a Samaritan woman drawing water at Jacob’s well for a drink. Jesus tells her if you ask me for a drink, I would give you living water. That water will become a spring gushing up to eternal life.
Think of the sign of water in baptism. The ritual of poured water is a sign of being cleansed and entering into new life. From then on everything was different. We were changed. We now share in His life and in his Resurrection into everlasting life.
God provided life nourishing food as manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. Now, for us, Jesus himself is the bread of life; the living bread from heaven given to nourish our spiritual lives. At the Last Supper, Jesus says the bread broken at the table is His body. The cup of wine they drink is the new covenant in His blood shed for us.
When we share this bread and this wine together, it is a sign that binds us to him and him to us; a sign of that relationship and of our belief in who he is.
There is in the psalms this wonderful metaphorical imagery of God providing shelter. The psalmist sees God as a protector. “Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer”. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus sadly extends this imagery to his own people because they do not accept him as the Messiah, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.“
In Baptism we became members of the household of God. In community, we gather in worship. At the common table we partake together the spiritual food of Jesus’ body and blood. We pray together and proclaim the Apostles’ teaching just like the first communities of followers of the Way.
There is a sense of community and home in these images.
Home is where everything is familiar, where everything has a history, where we can be quiet in meditation. Where I believe God abides there with us. In community is how and where we worship. Our gathering is in a sacred space. God is there with us. It is where everything is familiar, where everything has a history, where we can be quiet in prayer. It is where with our brothers and sisters in Christ we worship together in common unity.
What greater reality can there be than the Source of all our love, the Source of all we desire, the Source of all our gifts, the Source of everything we are blessed with is in our presence all the time?