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Remembering Our Baptism

January 12, 2019

Tomorrow we will remember not only the Baptism of Jesus, but also our own Baptism. It is not a bad thing to circle back from time to time and remember our baptismal vows. This picture of the Alluvial Fan from June, 2016 reminds me that even though life, like Rocky, can be in a winter mode, with the spring, renewed life and energy will return. In the winter times, it is good to remember the promises of our Baptism.

Tomorrow we will be electing new Ruling Elders and Deacons at Presbyterian Community Church of the Rockies. I think it is rather “ironic” in the deeper, spiritual sense, that we would be doing this on the same Sunday as we remember Jesus’s baptism. As a part of the Renewal of Baptism Liturgy, the following is said in the Prayer of Confession: In baptism you call us to ministry in all realms of life…

I can’t tell you how may Baptisms I have officiated through the years. After 32 years of ministry, one particular Baptism stands out. It was during the year I Clinical Pastoral Education Training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. I was on duty and called to the NICU where a premature baby was dying. Her Mother was upset (no kidding!) and she needed some presence who would remind her that God was present even in the midst of such suffering.

As the Neonatal Nurse brought the syringe of purified water to me, the four of us gathered and I began the Baptismal Liturgy. The Nurse, the Chaplain, the Mother, and the wee Baby… and in the midst of it all, the Spirit was truly present. We named the child and baptized her… I wish I could remember her name 22 years later, but I am thankful that her Mother and our Lord know her name… she was held by her Mother as she drew her last breath. The Spirit of comfort and strength was very present with us.

So, as we prepare to elect our Ruling Elders and Deacons, I think back to the meaning of Baptism. It isn’t an Eternal Life Insurance Policy… it is the One who created us calling and claiming us. God calls us to live and breathe and have our being as God’s own children.

As ones who have decided to be Christ-Followers (not as the so-called christians [lower case is intentional] but as ones who truly follow the Way), we are called to live and love differently from the world. Love your enemies… Pray for those who persecute you… forgive as you have been forgiven…

As Isaiah says in Chapter 43, verse 5: Do not fear, for I am with you… Our Creator makes that promise to each of us. And our response is this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, The Message translation)

As we remember our Baptismal vows… as we seek to love and serve God as we understand God, may we do so in the spirit of love… in the spirit of Micah the prophet… “God has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

May it be so for me… for you, dear reader… May it be so!

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