18 November 2009

Speaking of Baptismal Identity...

...I recently read in one of St. Caesarius' homilies on Baptism how in that Sacrament we renounce the old ruler of our lives and take an oath of allegiance to the Blessed Trinity; we join the militia Christi. "Do you renounce the devil? And all his works? And all his ways? Do you believe in God the Father? the Son? the Holy Spirit?"

The recent tragedy at Ft. Hood reminded me of this sermon, for St. Caesarius points out that the person who willfully chooses to serve sin after having been baptized is in fact a defector from Christ's army (whose assault is constant and ongoing against sin) and becomes a traitor. Such wear the uniform of Christ and yet choose to serve the purposes of the enemy; such pretend to have allegiance to the King when in fact they give it to the devil!

Lord, make us faithful soldiers for Christ, that we may be worthy of the uniform we wear, remembering whose side we are on, and join in your never-ending assault on sin, Satan, and eternal death in this age!

4 comments:

Ryan said...

Great illustration, thats' some effective law preaching. I'm curious, how does Caesarius apply the gospel in that sermon?

William Weedon said...

I don't recall offhand. I read it over a week ago and I remember being struck by that illustration. He does not always give what we think of as "Gospel" in a sermon - some are pure and heavy law. But when he does speak the Gospel, he speaks it quite beautifully.

Ryan said...

I've noticed the fathers are like that. They certainly can speak and preach on both law and gospel sublimely - but sermons are often one or the other. I wonder why? Was it because of more frequent preaching, and how does that inform our preaching today? (beside giving us stunning illustrations)

William Weedon said...

I'm not sure it was because of more frequent preaching. It's just not a "grid" in his mind, if you will - at least not that I can discern. What is clear is his drive to keep his people in repentance and to comfort those who would despair, but not allow that comfort to falsely turn them from repentance. He is at pains to do this over and over again. That's the essential concern of the Law/Gospel distinction in Lutheran theology, but he generally sticks to whatever the text he's preaching on gives him (or the topic he selects) and if it's a law text, so be it.