Monday, January 16, 2006


Baptism is a beggining. Here the image of being "born again" becomes helpful. Although misunderstood and misinterpreted by many it has some important connotations to the present discussion. Just like a child is born and needs nurture and care to mature and grow; Christians need the same care following their baptism. They are claimed by God and through that claim comes salvation -- wholeness -- but not as a static moment in time but as a dynamic movement that reaches from Christ's death and resurrection to the present and into the future.

Our being sealed with the Spirit at baptism has an effect. The efficacy of baptism in our lives has its basis in God's initiative and humanity's response. Here we have a sort of anamnesis of God's action in the past. For we, like Luther, need to constantly "re-member." In the act of remembering we re-claim and God once again reminds of of God's promise to us.

In baptism promises are kept and made. Those who come to the waters as adults make a profession to the Lordship of Christ. Those who come as infants claim what could be a greater gift: never knowing that they are outside of God's grace. They certainly will need to be reminded. That's the responsibility of the faith community. Just like a family tells its story we tell ours. This is why for both the adult and the child is important to hear the words "remember your baptism and be thankful."

I believe Baptism to be central on what it means to be church. The words of Jesus were not about just proclamation but action. In baptism humanity takes on, claims for themselves, the good news of Christ. The good news here are unlike any other good news. For in baptism we die to our old self, the self centered, egotistical, I can do it self. In baptism we claim that God loves us in spite of who we are. In return Christ indwells in humanity in the person of the Spirit. This indwelling is a new life, no longer centered in self but on Christ, no longer individual but a new communal identity as part of the covenant community of the baptized.

1 comment:

Josh said...

We get ourselves back in losing ourselves for God and others. This is the key insight that we don't hold together well: faith is about giving ourselves up, yes--but in the giving up, we get our best selves back, receving from God's hand what we would never have if we refused to stretch out our own.