God’s mercy and protection be with you now and forever. Today is a very pleasant day. Today is the day Kyzyl will be baptized. As the body of Christ, we proclaim today that Kyzyl is with us as a part of the body of Christ.
I have been so excited as I prepare for Kyzyl’s baptism, firmly anchored in my unwavering belief in God’s promise to shower him with abundant blessings through this sacred ceremony. Although Kyzyl may encounter various challenges throughout his journey, he will experience God’s unwavering love, even amidst the depths of adversity. God’s Word offers a steadfast assurance to Kyzyl, providing him with unchanging grace and divine protection, granting him profound peace even in the face of pain and sorrow that may cross his path in his life.
All of us who have been baptized are within that blessing. We are in God, and we are in the community of the church. We help each other to be in God’s grace and love. God the Holy Spirit uses Exodus 14 to proclaim God’s promise to us today. Also, the Holy Spirit calls us into a community of faith through the narrative of the exodus.
Exodus 14 is the story of crossing the Red Sea that you all know well. God gives freedom to Israel through Moses. Moses leads his people, who have been living as Egyptians’ slaves, out of the land of Egypt. They try to run away, but the king of Egypt and his army pursue them to the end. As the Israelites flee, they eventually encounter the Red Sea. The Israelites find themselves trapped with the Red Sea blocking their path, and the Egyptian forces closing in. In a time of crisis, a moment of divine intervention unfolds. Through the faithful obedience of Moses, God orchestrates a remarkable miracle, parting the waters and providing a path for the Israelites to pass through.
Today we would like to pay special attention to verse 22 in this narrative. “The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” This verse says, “There were walls of water on the left and right.” This sounds scientifically absurd, but there are clearly important meanings hidden within this narrative. The towering walls of water serve as both a blessing and a shield for the Israelites. In the depths of the sea, where fear and uncertainty loom, these walls provide a sense of safety and security.
This message works as a promise to Kyzyl and his family and to our community of faith. We will experience God’s grace and protection every day by fully believing in this promise. Moses’ small obedience to God caused this great miracle. God commanded Moses, who was at a loss as to what to do, saying, “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea.” The staff was nothing special. But that staff had a special story between Moses and God. God had shown Moses His love and power through that rod. When Moses lifted up the staff with the memories, he believed and trusted only God. He waited for God’s help.
We believe in God’s unfailing love. Especially, I encourage Fin and Jakub to trust in God’s unwavering love, favor, and protection for Kyzyl, just as Moses raised his staff and trusted God absolutely. As you believe in God, you will be able to believe in Kyzyl. He will be in God in any circumstance. Then, in that trust, Kyzyl will grow well in God’s protection and guidance.
Here is one more thing that we want to focus on. Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. Contrary to the scene in the movie “The Prince of Egypt,” the Red Sea did not immediately set apart when Moses struck the surface of the water. Instead, an east wind blew all night until the Red Sea parted, and Moses earnestly hoped and prayed to God for that miracle to happen. God’s protection will be provided to Kyzyl by this baptism. We, Kyzyl’s parents, his family, godparents, sponsors, and Lakeridge church members, guests, and friends are here to promise that we will pray for Kyzyl and support him. God will provide divine protection over the life of Kyzyl through our prayers. And the prayer will empower us to become a stronger community of faith, enabling us to care for others. For Kyzyl, through God’s grace and power, let us become a safe community like the wall of water.
May the power of God infuse you with vitality, hope, and joy through the promise of baptism, now and always!
4th Sunday after Pentecost, Baptism for Kyzyl, June 25th, 2023, Exodus 14:21-22
Pastor John Kim, Lakeridge Lutheran Church