A Sacrament, not a Sign

Feb 21, 2024    Pastor Mark Schutz

Signs and symbols. These are artifacts that represent something larger. Take thirteen red and white stripes with fifty-stars on a field of blue. That flag is more than just colored cloth sewn together. It represents something—the history, values, and ideals of the United States of America. That shiny piece of metal on the man-in-blue’s chest is more than decoration. It is a sign, marking that police officer as one who has authority, as well as the duty to protect and serve. Signs and symbols are important because they represent something larger.

There are those who view Baptism as an important sign, a symbolic representation of the way God washes away our sin. They could not be more wrong. Baptism doesn’t represent something. Baptism is something. St. Peter says plainly, “Baptism… saves you” (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism isn’t a sign. Baptism is a sacrament. God has connected his saving work and Word with a common earthly element—water. As we begin our Lenten look at Baptism, let us remember what we are looking at when we see someone come to the font. That is not a sign. It is not symbolic. It is a miracle… a Holy Sacrament.