Can you remember the day you were baptized? Most likely you were in church and a little one would start to wiggle, or maybe an older child or adult would look down at the water with wondering eyes. You couldn’t help yourself…but smile!
Most recently, because of the safety concerns with COVID, especially for young infants and siblings, along with our commitment to be abundantly cautious, some families have opted to have their children baptized with only the immediate family members present.
Surely, there is much to be said about the presence of the church community. But what I have discovered is a new joy in the celebration of the sacrament of being baptized by the smaller crowds as they fill the bowl with hands of parents, siblings, cousins, and grandparents. Afterall, the Baptism of Jesus, was a family event!
Let me take this back and set the stage a bit. John the Baptist, who was a cousin of Jesus, was inviting people to be washed clean or to be baptized (see this week’s scripture reading from Luke 3:15-22). As many people were stepping forward in the river to be washed clean of their sin, the other cousin, Jesus, arrived to be baptized. John stopped the baptism, but Jesus invited him to continue.
I can imagine this scene of people walking up and down the banks of the river going in and out of the water as it flowed from here to there. Family members splashing water on one another in joyfulness as they played in the river after this once in a lifetime bath. Meanwhile, on this day, one cousin baptized another cousin…and a voice from heaven spoke to Jesus, “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”
Two thousand years later, as we too, are washed clean of our own sin, we hear the message of hope. God does see us. God is please with us and we are gifted for the work of being God’s hands, feet, and voice in our world today. This act of the church and the families within shares the Good News and brings a much-needed smile for you and me this very day.
In awe and wonder,