I had the wonderful privilege of baptizing a baby Sunday. Mason was a perfect baptizee – liked grabbing hold of my headset microphone, but that was all in good fun! His family came up as we baptized him then the church came up to pray over him. A good time was had by all. I love baptizing babies and sharing that moment with the congregation.
Later in the day I put this on my Facebook status: “Good day… watered a baby today. The family and the church agreed to help him grow.” Just a meager attempt at humor, but as I thought about this it really struck me – that’s baptism from the perspective of the church, is it not?
As a good Methodist pastor I am well aware that in baptism it is God who is at work in this “means of grace”. However, baptism is also this wonderful work of the church where we commit to being involved each others lives – to help each other grow. In baptism we’re immersed in the life and grace of Jesus Christ, but that life is not one we can live by ourselves. When we baptized Mason we didn’t initiate him into a collection of individuals, God initiated him into the Body of Christ. His family committed to helping him find his way to living life in God’s way. The church committed to being there to teach him in Sunday School and VBS. Baptism is not a moment as much as it is a lifetime happening.
Just think what would happen if we watered a seedling plant just once and did nothing else – wouldn’t grow very tall or very strong. Same is true for us who are baptized – that one moment is not enough for us to grow strong in the way God would have us grow.
Your baptism in Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was not just a moment in your life but a lifetime of moments that you cannot live on your own. Your baptism was an event that connected you to the life and faith of every other believer. In order for you to grow you need them, in order for them to grow they need you.
It was a good day – watered a baby and remembered that I was once watered too. Thanks be to God.
Holy high five to you, Mike.