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I am baptized!
January 28, 2013
by Pastor Tim Wheatley, Cokato Ev. Lutheran Church, Cokato

Grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The day I write this, is a cold and windy day. I am in the midst of the cold snap that hit this week, and it is dreary. It is not a day filled with excitement and joy, but rather one where you wish you could just climb back under the covers and read a good book for a couple of hours.

It is easy on a day like this to feel down and to feel your commitment to many of those new year’s resolutions wane. It is just a hard day to do much of anything, even write a column for the newspaper.

Days like this remind me of a story of Martin Luther. While Luther was hiding from Emperor Charles V, he was hidden away in Wittenberg Castle for 11 months. There, he would have experienced a German winter in a drafty German castle.

While in the castle, he spent much of his time translating the New Testament into German. On one of those days, he was feeling particularly harassed and tempted to give up faith and hope; it was as if Satan was harassing him bodily.

The story goes that Luther picked up an inkwell and threw it at Satan, leaving an ink stain on the wall. As he threw, he shouted, “I am baptized,” declaring to the tempter that he was no longer under his power, but that Christ has claimed and redeemed him and therefore, the adversary had no power over him.

It was exactly because Luther at times felt so weak that he clung to his baptism so tightly. He knew that what he could not do, Christ had already done for him.

Unfortunately, like many great stories about our heroes, this story seems not to be historical. It does not appear until the end of the 16th century and in the earliest version, Satan is throwing an ink well at Luther to stop him from translating the New Testament.

But the reason it has stayed around for so long is that it encompasses Luther’s trust in God, even in the face of great adversity – his belief that God uses ordinary people to do great things, just as he uses ordinary water to bring a sinner into his kingdom.

On mornings like this morning, when I wish nothing other than to be back in bed, I can declare, “I am baptized” and know that God will direct and use me. Luckily for my walls, I keep my ink well (for calligraphy, of course) far from my bed.

May God strengthen you.