Schaefer: Baptism

Guest Writer Chris Schaefer

Our Baptism today

“Baptism as a way to the freedom of the children of God and as a way to a life in community calls for a personal commitment. There is nothing magical or automatic about this sacrament. Having water poured over us while someone says, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” has lasting significance only when we are willing to claim and reclaim in all possible ways the spiritual truth of who we are as baptized people.” Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen, September 29

Daniel baptism.jpg

Traditionally baptisms will be happening all over the world this Sunday as many congregations will observe the liturgy of All Saints Day. As we remember those who have died, we celebrate new birth. Claiming our spiritual truth as baptized people is so important and significant for us today. Today’s world is confusing and challenges us to work even harder to live our spiritual truth. I recently was challenged to look back at our Baptismal Covenant to find answers to questions about how our spiritual truth applies to us in today’s world. Well, it was here that I found, or better still was reminded of, what “the spiritual truth of who we are as baptized people” is. Like some of our prayers or creeds, we tend to read or recite them from root memory often losing the heart of the words we are saying. This is how I felt as I started going through the renewal of the Baptismal Covenant but then I came up short. As I read the last two questions I found my answers.

“Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

I will, with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every

human being?

I will, with God’s help. “ Book of Common Prayer,

p. 305.

There it is! We are already committed to what we are striving for. We are already in covenant with God to act on our commitment to Him. No matter what happens in the world, we can make a difference by leaning into that covenant. I must remember that no act or gesture is too small to make a positive, loving difference in someone’s life. And that it is only with God’s help that I can make anything happen. We already belong to this life in community. We are already joined together by our common covenant. We all must be willing to reclaim our spiritual truth of who we are as baptized people. We all must make that personal commitment.

Chris Schaefer