Grace and Peace to you.
This Sunday is the Baptism of our Lord. We will baptize a teenager and receive a few people into membership. (If you wish to join or be baptized, let me know!) And we will renew our Baptismal vows. We are only baptized once, but we continually need to renew our commitment to our baptism, to say “yes” to God’s “Yes” to us.
Baptism is not “hell insurance,” nor does it determine that a kid will be a Christian. It’s the church’s way of immersing someone in the love of God. Baptism is the enactment of God’s promise to Jesus at his baptism: “You are my Own, my Beloved, with whom I am delighted.” Baptism promises that you are as immersed in God and God’s love as a fish is in the sea.
God’s love is universal, absolute and profoundly deep. It is not for those few who get it right, whatever “it” is, but for everyone. Salvation is not a privilege for the few but a gift for all. Baptism promises that you are surrounded and saturated by God’s love, led and strengthened by God’s Spirit, accompanied and blessed by God’s grace. It’s an invitation to live a life fully immersed in God.
That invitation and promise will wear thin, of course, if it’s just a handful of water and a few words one Sunday morning. A baptism isn’t over with the worship service. It continues in our love for the baptized person. We journey with them in faith, we grow in our relationship with God, we care for them, we help them discover their gifts and callings, we serve alongside them—that’s how they “receive” their baptism. (That’s one reason church membership is connected to baptism.)
So this Sunday come prepared to receive Kevin Rollins, a new brother in Christ, and walk in faith with him. Come prepared to join with some others in renewing our baptismal vows and our commitment together as the Body of Christ. Come prepared to give and receive infinite, beautiful, life-giving love.
Speaking of our common life together, a woman has recently moved to Robbins Brook and would like rides to church on Sundays. Anyone willing to be part of a divers pool to give her rides on a rotating basis? Let me know.