One Baptism

This is the amazing baptismal font at Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England.

This is the amazing baptismal font at Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, – Ephesians 4:5 (CEB)

This Sunday I will preside over my first baptism. This won’t take place in a Withness Community gathering but rather a traditional, institutional church. In August, I became the part-time stated supply (ie: temporary) pastor at a church in our presbytery. In addition to my call in Withness Community, I also serve this church by leading worship two to three Sundays a month, moderating their Session (ie: board of trustees), and working with them as they discern God’s call for their congregation.

Baptism is a mysterious thing.

As we come up out of the water, we experience the resurrection of Christ. In this way, we recognize that as Jesus’ body was put to death, so too, are the things that separate us from God. Whether we come to the font as an infant or as an adult, God’s “yes” to us is the same. We become God’s new creation – a member of the household of God.[1] In baptism, we are clothed in Christ and Christ lives in us.[2] The continuing miracle of our baptism is that it is only the beginning. We reaffirm God’s “yes” to us in confirmation, in ordination as deacons and elders, and the call to serve and disciple others.

 

In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. – Romans 12:5 (NIV)

One of the miracles of baptism is the change it has on the Body of Christ. We joyfully accept the newly baptized as a member of Christ’s Church. While we often cite their in-grafting into the vine of Christ, we forget that their baptism changes each of us. If individually we belong to each other, my self and my faith community also become new creations. I, we are no longer who we were when we woke up that morning. There is another person at the table. There is someone else to whom I now belong. There is someone else who now belongs to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about baptism and the Body of Christ these last weeks. I feel like I’m living this baptism theology as I pastor a new worshipping community that does not have decades or centuries of its own traditions, a building that is our own, a certain way of being, or committees to manage. But I am now also a part of an older congregation that has all of these things. Both communities are discerning God’s call.

In addition, Withness Community is partnering with two other traditional churches in our community to provide food and shelter to homeless children and their parents as part of Family Promise. As I meet with these churches, their ways are not necessarily our ways – but we are willing to work together for God’s Kingdom. We are all trying to love those in need.

Somehow, all four of these worshipping communities are joined in the waters of baptism. And on Sunday, we will welcome and be renewed once more.

 

[1] Romans 6:3-4

[2] Galatians 2:20; 3:27

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