Sunday, January 10, 2021
Dear St. Luke Family:
It’s been a troubling week. It might seem an odd juxtaposition to consider Baptism this Sunday, the day on our Christian calendar set aside as Baptism of the Lord Sunday.
But when you think about it, it is perhaps one of the most timely and healing topics we could consider. A phrase often used in worship after a child or adult has been baptized is directed to the rest of the congregation: “Remember your Baptism, and be thankful.” Many of us can’t remember our Baptisms; we were too young. A better rephrasing might be, “Remember that you have been baptized, and be thankful.”
Why should we remember and be thankful? Presbyterians don’t believe that Baptism changes God’s attitude toward us; we don’t believe Baptism is required for salvation or that God loves us more if we’ve been baptized. Rather, baptism is but the beginning of a lifelong process of formation in the faith. In baptism, we are called to a new way of life as Christ’s disciples, sharing the good news of the God’s love with all the world, and living out our belief that in life and in death we all belong to God. Baptism affirms that God claims us as God’s own, as God’s beloveds.
Just think what a radical and life-altering belief that is. We are all God’s beloved children.
If we’ve seen anything this week, it’s the importance of beliefs. What we believe shapes us, and shapes our actions. This Sunday we celebrate and remember that God loves us and calls us to love all those whom God loves, which is everybody. Jesus taught that this is the most important belief for his followers. That belief should shape us, change us, transform us. Figuring out what that looks like in this complicated and often disturbing world is why we gather as church, counting on God’s grace to work steadily in us as we help each other practice love by following Jesus.
Remember your Baptism, and be thankful.
Grace and peace,