Family history from Lucy to Luke
There is trouble brewing at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Few people are queuing up to see Lucy, the fossil exhibit that proposes to tell “the story of evolution and culture and history” according to the Seattle Times article of January 24, 2009. It seems that the $2.25 million exhibit, so far showing only in Ethiopia and Seattle, has drawn barely 25% of the expected 250,000 people willing to expose themselves to the holy grail of evolutionary biology, the fossils known as “Lucy” which some paleoanthropologists claim explain human origins.
While the exhibitors blame the weather in December and the downturn in the economy for their financial problems, I hope people are staying home because they have a better family history. Baptisms, like Luke’s that we celebrated last week, give us a new family story – no longer in Adam but now in Christ – which is told in the language of Creation, Fall and Recreation. We no longer find our story in the philosophies of the world, but in our connection through baptism to Christ. Colossians 2 describes our new family story this way:
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Baptism is a wonderful reminder of death to sin and resurrection to new life, opening the way for God’s grace to work. Our story doesn’t begin with Darwin’s theory but with God’s promises. And baptism gives us the family to go along with the story. No waiting in line for tickets, just the invitation to be the church.
In our baptism liturgy we are reminded that “we are therefore always to teach our little ones that they have been set aside by baptism as God’s own children.” As we celebrate baptism this month and remember our little ones – Laurel’s Isabelle, the foster-daughter who has been such a blessing to Jim and Melinda, and Ryan and Mallory’s young son, Luke – we also remind ourselves of our new family history. And every Sunday should be a family reunion!