Two reflections for today. From Bethany ...
Do you remember when you were baptized? Many of us do not, because we were baptized as babies. Though I don’t remember my baptism, my parents like to tell me about it regularly – especially the detail about me crying the entire time.
Similarly, we don’t memories of our birth, but we likely have heard plenty of stories about our birth day. The story I most often hear about my birth is the fact that I “decided” to be born on a Sunday morning. And my dad is a pastor. Sunday morning is the one time he definitely did NOT want me to be born. And yes, he tells the story with the word “decided” … as if I had a choice about when I would be born.
Jesus’ birth and baptism are stories that Christians tell over and over again, because both stories point to how wonderfully unique and special Jesus was. Angels sang at his birth. At his baptism, a voice from heaven declared that Jesus was beloved. Wow, now those are some stories!
Though the stories of our births and baptisms may focus on minor details like crying fits and ill-timed arrivals, may we never forget that our births and baptisms are reminders of how wonderfully unique and special we are. No one just like you has ever or will ever be born. In our baptism, we are reminded that we are a beloved child of God, just as we are. Thanks be to God.
From Rob ...
This year, we have been immersed, surrounded by, drowning in, absence, or worse--hurt, disintegration, and death.
We have had to isolate from much of our human contact - No, videoconferencing doesn’t count. It may even count against us.
We have been witness to the decay of businesses, which is to say livelihood, which is to say health insurance, which is to say rent, which is to say one third of the American promise...unless you place more value in the pursuit than you do in the happiness itself.
We have seen and been hurt. We have seen refrigerator trucks stationed outside hospitals, and that is all we need to say about that.
To baptize means “to immerse.”
It is good to be honest about that in which we have been immersed that we may lay flowers at the altar of our lived realities.
When we are honest about that in which we have been immersed, we can walk with washed eyes toward that which we would choose for our own immersion, hot springs of grace, healing baths of recognition and acknowledgement, spa waters of victory over the fires of prejudice and cruelty.
To be baptized is to die to death and to rise to rising.
To be baptized is to practice resurrection, which is a good bit more important than believing in it.
To be baptized is to claim that while I have been immersed, the Spirit in me has not drowned.
Come, here’s a towel. Let’s get warm by the fire.