On January 26, 1905, in Pretoria, South Africa, Captain M.F. Wells found a diamond weighing one and one quarter pounds. Two years later, the diamond was purchased and presented to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. In 1908, a diamond cutter from Amsterdam cut from the diamond, the star of Africa, the largest cut diamond in the world, containing seventy-four facets with a weight of 530 carats. Today, the diamond is set in the British Royal Scepter. Can you imagine the value of such a jewel?
Then there is the Hope Diamond: the largest blue diamond in the world. It weighs in at 44.4 carats. Found in India during the seventeenth century, it has been displayed since 1958, at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. At that time it was worth between $700,000 and $1,500.000.
But diamonds are not the most precious of gems. Since 1955 rubies have been the world’s most precious gem, attaining a price up to $30,000. a carat. Can you imagine what the Burmese Ruby, weighing 1,184 carats would be worth? To have one of these jewels would be to have one of the most beautiful and most valued jewels in the world. Imagine how it would feel wearing the Hope Diamond set into a ring. Well, most of us already possess a jewel of even greater value.
In his Large Catechism, Martin Luther makes this concluding statement about Baptism: “No greater jewel can adorn our body or soul than Baptism: for through it, perfect holiness and salvation become accessible to us, which are otherwise beyond the reach of man’s life and energy.” I am sure if any of us owned one of the great gems of the world, we would not easily forget it. Rather we would feel good about it, share its beauty by wearing it, be careful to protect it, and treasure it. Yet our beautiful adornment of Baptism is often forgotten. Weeks go by without us even considering our jewel of Baptism.
Saint Paul reminds us in Romans that through Baptism we were buried with Christ in his death. Baptism joins us to Christ and through it we receive the forgiveness that his death affords. Paul says, “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ has been raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
All of us from time to time have felt that we needed a change; some have even dreamed of a new life, a new beginning. New life, our new beginning, not only happens on the day we are baptized but it can extend to every day. As we daily remember our Baptism, we welcome the benefits of Baptism. Benefits that come from a powerful God who offer help and peace to those who call upon His name. Benefits of renewed joy snatched from sorrow, renewed strength formed out of weakness and the ability to forgive someone you would naturally not want to be with.
Because we believe and are baptized, we also remember that our eternal future is certain - however uncertain our earthly life might be. We are family. And when we die, we know that God the Father has already made provisions for a great reunion in heaven. A new life is ours as we join the forever family of God.
Blessings on the Journey!