Rejoice, A New Creation!

This week was a very blessed week for my family as my husband and I became members of the church we have been attending since this summer, which has welcomed us with open arms. But even more important than that, my husband made his faith formal and public by taking the sacrament of baptism! For some, the significance of that moment may be less obvious than to others, but it is terribly significant to Christ. It is an act of acceptance and obedience to Christ’s calling and an act of submission to His plan for your life, “an outward sign of inward grace,” symbolic of the washing away of sins and the death of the old man and birth of the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Lobster BisqueBecause of the significance of the occasion, I treated him to one of his favorite meals (and, coincidentally, the most expensive meal I’ve ever made): Lobster Bisque. He’s lucky I love him 😛

A special meal is one of those ways that I like to celebrate significant moments in life because, particularly when you make it yourself, it actively responds to the importance of the occasion. So, here are the reasons I chose to cook him this meal and why to cook something special at all.

  1. It’s his favorite. It’s not my favorite (although it certainly is delicious), but his favorite, and something he doesn’t ever get at home.
  2. It’s expensive. If not today, on what is one of the most important days of his life, then when? He certainly isn’t going to get it ‘just because’ on a Wednesday night! But more significantly, this event deserves an expensive meal. It is a sacrifice to serve such a luxurious meal and, in the same way as the Israelites of the Old Testament would offer burnt sacrifices for spiritual commitment and renewal, I can give this meal to God as much as to my husband, as a thanks offering to His faithfulness and goodness.
  3. It’s not the easiest. I can acknowledge and celebrate the significance of the occasion by putting in a little more effort than I typically would when putting together dinner.

Ryan's Baptism at City Pres

Pastor Doug baptizes Ryan on Sunday

But I’m sure some of you are still trying to figure out what makes this day so significant, anyway? Why is it such a big deal that the pastor poured some water on Ryan’s head when his hair might freeze when he walks outside after the service?

Although the act of baptism is symbolic, it is an act of obedience that represents the condition of one’s heart, hearing, accepting and responding to Jesus’ sacrifice and forgiveness. We are saved by our faith (Acts 16:30-31), but we testify with our baptism. We join into the community and body of Christ, not just as believer, but as a believer that is a member of the New Covenant, sealed with Christ’s blood. By humbling ourselves to baptism, we publicly accept His new direction for our lives, united with the rest of the body of Christ. Jesus’ own baptism (Matthew 3) was the beginning of His ministry, growing the body of Christ and beginning to establish the New Covenant. Our baptism is the same: initiating us into the active discipleship and ministry of the body of Christ.

Baptism also represents the crucifixion of our old selves, our sinful, fallen selves and our resurrection as a new creation. Paul writes in Romans 6:4-6 “for we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” When we undergo baptism, we are symbolically drowned, washed clean of our transgressions and bathed in the blood of Christ. But then we are resurrected, to walk with the Holy Spirit, as a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

So baptism is like a believer’s third birthday! The first is your literal, physical birthday. The second is your born-again birthday (John 3:1-21), accepting Christ as your salvation. The third is your birth within the body of Christ, the church universal through baptism, beginning your walk as not just a believer, but a disciple.

Jesus demands our baptism (in His conversation with Nicodemus, when he sends out His disciples to the nations) and Paul testifies to it regularly, so it is an act of obedience to His calling, the next step of a believer as he or she begins formally walking with Christ.

So, with that, celebrate! Rejoice, because God is faithful! He gives us the opportunity to enter into a covenant with Him and rejoices when we accept His call. What a thing to celebrate! With singing and dancing and feasting! Let us celebrate this day and honor its significance, remembering its meaning and honoring it with feasting and rejoicing!

And this time, we shall feast on Lobster Bisque and marble rye 🙂

Lobster BisqueLobster Bisque

Ingredients
6 Tbs butter
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 c flour
1 Tbs Old Bay seasoning
2 c seafood stock (homemade using the lobster shells or store-bought)
3 Tbs tomato paste
6 c milk (at least 2%)
1 lb lobster meat
1/2 c half & half (or heavy cream, if you’re up to the extra fat– with half & half, you’ll get most of the flavor with less fat, but the texture won’t be quite as creamy)
Freshly ground pepper, kosher salt

  1.  Melt the butter in a large (4-6 qt) saucepan over medium heat. Lightly saute the green onions until fragrant (about a minute). Add the Old Bay and flour gradually, whisking as you go, until all is incorporated into a smooth paste, and cook for about a minute.
  2. Slowly whisk in the stock, bringing to a light simmer. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Once the tomato paste is thoroughly incorporated, slowly whisk in the milk. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning, allowing the soup to thicken.
  3. Lower the heat to medium low and season with salt and pepper. Add lobster meat, cut or torn into small chunks, and cook, stirring, until it reaches desired thickness.
  4. Garnish with another dash of Old Bay, a drizzle of cream and a few more green onions or a fresh bay leaf.
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