The 16th Sunday after Pentecost

If I mention the date September 11th, what do you think?

Maybe it is your birthday. (I know someone who has a birthday on that date.) Maybe it is an anniversary of some sort for you. However I think overwhelmingly people think of the tragedy in the US at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and of the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. That historical event ‘drowns out’ anything else that day it would seem.

What happened on September 11th … 1978? I’m not sure too many people jump up and down with the answer – unless you are aware of smallpox. Historypod tells us that on that date the last death from smallpox occurred. That’s not insignificant. But they are over 20 years apart. Sometimes one event dominates the other on the day. When many calendars might note the assassination of John F Kennedy, fewer people will remember that C S Lewis also died that day. Those whose birthdays are on 25th December, however, might appreciate this observation more!

We don’t know for certain the date of Jesus’ crucifixion (though there is one ‘contender’) but for Christians that event is the most important on the planet. On that day salvation was achieved for all of humanity. On that day a new creation began and a defeat of death’s power occurred. We are joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection in Baptism and consequently that date – our baptism – becomes for us the most dominant date of the year and of our lives. What happened to us on that date – the day of our baptism – gives us our identity and the hope we have and guides us through each day. Do you know the date of your baptism? It was the moment when the Jesus of the past became the Jesus of your ‘now’ – yes, now … still … today! Jesus is present through all our days and the cross and empty tomb reveal his reasons why. Our baptism gives his new life and that means whatever happens on whatever day, we need not be afraid to wake up or to go to sleep. GS