Baptism Grace

I love witnessing a baptism, whether it is an infant baptism or an RCIA baptism like Victor’s in this week’s Spirit magazine. The sacrament is so powerful, the Holy Spirit is so readily present in the time and space. Of the seven sacraments, Jesus partook in two of them: baptism and Eucharist. When I witness a baptism, I am struck by the ritual and how it ties us to our faith community thousands of years ago and across the world from where we are now. To me, it is amazing.

BaptismGod knows us and adores us while we are still in our mother’s womb. A baptism is a public acknowledgment and celebration of that truth. God says, “You, the wet one over there, I love you. I will never abandon or forsake you. You are part of my story and part of my vast family. All that I have is yours.” Baptism introduces us into a community who will struggle with us and remind us of our baptism, of God’s love for us when we forget. We can lean on our community when we doubt God’s promise or forget that God doused us with love at our baptism. When we are too broken to pray, our community can pray for us until we stumble back to our knees.

My sister-in-law asked me to write something for my niece’s baptism. She was baptized as a baby. Below is what I wrote. I come back to it now and again, to remember my own baptism and remember God’s promise to love me forever:

Nadia brings out the best kind of our love, the kind of love that is the most like God’s love. Without knowing it, Nadia is here today to help us unlearn what adult life has taught us. She is here to remind us what the faith of a child looks like, to invite us to belief in the awesome, nurturing, unconditional love of God.

There was nothing and then there was something, and that something was very good. And God loved that very good something because God created it, and promised to love Nadia, walk with Nadia, learn from Nadia regardless of her recognition or approval.

We loved her actively and abundantly even before she was born. We began to build a relationship with her while Leslie was still bearing Nadia in her body.

And so it is with God.

We have gathered here today as a public witness that we will never abandon Nadia.

And so it is with God.

Here is the group of people committing to love her, to weep when she weeps and laugh when she laughs all the days of our lives. We are committed to walk with her, teach her and learn from her. We commit to this unconditional love and affection with no cognitive recognition or approval from her.

And so it is with God.

We look into Nadia’s eyes and see God so clearly, there are no masks, no hurt yet to be barriers. She believes the Scripture, “you only need to be still and God will fight for you.” Nadia reminds us that we have inherent worth in our sleeping, eating and breathing.

And so it is with God. God loves us while we are sleeping, loves us when we do not show love back for days, years.

How amazing, to have the faith of a child.

How amazing to have the abundant love of God.

Were you baptized as a baby? If you were not, would you choose to be baptized as an adult like Victor? Why or why not?

What do you know about your baptism?

What does it mean to you to be God’s beloved?

How do you lean on your faith community, the community you were baptized into?

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One thought on “Baptism Grace

  1. I was brought up in the lutheran faith and wasnt at all familiar with other religions.i was 14 at the time when my best friend,mandy,who was catholic told me she was being baptized at easter vigil and asked me if i wanted to come to it and see her get baptized.I said sure i would come to it.she told me the time and the day so my mom took me to her parish and dropped me off.I walked in to the parish not knowing what to expect.I got a mild shock when i saw the girls all wearing poofy,white,above the knees dresses with bonnets on their heads and white lace socks and shiny white shoes.i met mandy and she was dressed in the same outfit and i was kind of taken aback.we started talking and she told me the white out fits are the traditional worn by the girls for baptisms there.she told me they wear the white outfits like that to symbolize their purity and innocence of an infant for their baptisms.she then told me that the girls wear a cloth diaper and plastic pants under their dresses as their infant under wear and lifted up her dress and showed me the cloth diaper and plastic pants she had on under the dress.I couldnt believe what i was seeing! my best friend who was 14 wearing a diper and plastic pants under her dress!she told me all the girls there had the diaper and plastic pants under there dresses and i saw some of the girls who were around 16 or 17 in the outfits!mandy showed me wear to sit and a few minutes later she walked up to the alter with her parents and god parents and was picked up and held like a baby to get the water on her head.after it was over we stayed for a while then went back to her house for her party.she told me that she would be making her first communion next month in may and that she has to wear the diaper and plastic pants again under her communion dress.that was my first experience of a catholic baptism!

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