All Christians who have been baptized.
Who know the God of heaven,
And in whose daily life is prized
The name of Christ once given:
Consider now what God has done,
The gifts He gives to everyone
Baptized into Christ Jesus.
Sunday morning we witnessed the first baptism in our new church building. The sweet baby girl was only six days old, and so precious.
But Anna’s beauty did not make me cry.
I always cry at baptisms. Some might think it is from some sentimentality. Maybe I’m mourning that fact that my children are growing up. . .and far too quickly at that.
No, the reason that I cry at baptisms is because I am so overwhelmed by the power of this simple sacrament.
How can water do such great things?-
It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying. (Martin Luther’s Small Catechism)
Baptism is life giving.
And so, when I witness a baptism, I remember my own baptism. That day when my parents carried me to the font, a sinful creature. I was washed and renewed. I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit. My baptism was a free gift to me. I certainly did not merit it. . .I could hardly even hold my head up.
As I grew, I was kept in mind of my baptism. I was reminded that I was God’s child. I was reminded that I was loved, cherished and forgiven. My parents taught me. My godparents reminded me. My faithful pastors reminded me.
As I grew, I remembered my baptism, and when I had children of my own, I carried each of them, one by one, and once, two at a time, to the font to be washed, renewed and reborn.
I daily keep them in my prayers, as well as the four precious children of God that I have the immense privilege and responsibility to be godmother to: Brennan, Jack, Daphne and Emma.
And so, remembering all of these people, my parents, my godparents, my children and my godchildren. . .I often cry at baptisms.
So use it well! You are made new–
In Christ a new creation!
As faithful Christians live and do
Within your own vocation,
Until that day when you possess
His glorious robe of righteousness
Bestowed on you forever!
*hymn verses from “All Christians Who have Been Baptized”, Paul Gerhardt