What is the first thing a brand new phone does when first switched on? Those who have bought one (or done a full reset on an old phone) will know that one of the first prompts is for a Wifi code! It then wants you to 'log in' using a Google or Apple ID. In other words it wants connection! This is designed and built in to the device - it can try and work without it, but it will certainly not give you all it's capabilities without it.
Us as human beings are the same. We flourish when we belong, when we are secure in our identity, when we have connection with our Maker - this is designed and built into us. We feel it as a yearning deep inside us.
That raises the question of what is 'true connection'? How can I really know who I am and flourish? The answer that our friends being baptised this morning have all discovered is found in Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate connection point. He is the one who gives us our identity, our proper connection ... because He is God (the Maker) come to humanity. Why Jesus and not some other famous figure? Because Jesus is the only one who has laid down his life for the whole of humanity ... and then (on Easter morning) was seen alive again, showing his body to be resurrected and having life beyond death.
All of us like to belong - we don't like to float around with no connection. Our identity is important to us. Paul writes to Christians in his letter to the Colossians: 'In Him you were given a permanent mark of belonging'. He explains this is not something done by humans, but by God Himself ... God giving His own God-Spirit connection. Our culture tells us differently - it says: 'I feel, therefore I am'. In other words be whoever you feel like. The problem in actual life is that this proves empty and hollow, because there is no substance to it, and (as we know) our feels can change and fluctuate all over the place. So such a philosophy proves no better than a smartphone that has no connection!
Let me suggest an alternative to today's philosophy:
I know Jesus, therefore I am
Jesus was certain of who he was and lived every day with full connection with God - He thus gives the substance so we can have that same connection, and in Him we can flourish.
You might ask how this comes about? Jesus in his life showed the way: He laid down His life, fully, completely ... all the way to the cross - killed and dead. Jesus had a trust in God so complete that He could go all the way through being killed - trusting that God would see Him through. And God did exactly that in raising Him from the dead.
So the way for us is likewise to start trusting in Jesus, to recognise that our way doesn't cut it, and leads to isolation and just our self-interest. It is like a phone 'gone rogue' - as if it had a mind of it's own. The only thing left for it is a full, hard reset! So we too have to come to the point where we say: 'The old "me" has to die, to stop - it is no good. I want reset!'. We have to decide to now be in Jesus with our trust and our lives - trusting that He will raise me up, will give connection, and enable me to live. That is what baptism is: the old self goes down, gone, drowned into the water ... and we come up to God-Spirit-connected-life.
That offer of full, real and proper connection is there. It has been accepted by our friends being baptised today - it is there for any and all of us today. It is the press of the reset button in your life and heart - it is one simple prayer away!