Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
What do you remember about your baptism?
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to walk into the water with three people from our congregation and invite them to receive God’s Holy Spirit as is promised in our Christian understanding of baptism. Before entering the water to receive this promise, we had talked about what was going to happen. Even in our conversation, though, I do not think they could have prepared themselves for all that was about to take place.
Each of the three responded differently. One was filled with wide-eyed amazement at all the people who had gathered. As the congregation looked on, he looked around and smiled, and seemed genuinely surprised at all who had come out to bear witness.
Another was filled with apprehension. As she knelt in the water, there was a sense of uncertainty that comes with facing the unknown. She looked down at the water and up at me, and in that moment, there was a sense of trust, a bond that developed between the two of us. She was not quite sure she was going to be all right, but she was willing to trust me. She surrendered to the water and the will of God, and she emerged on the other side with a new sense of confidence.
The third entered the water with many memories. She had lost her mother in September. She had lost her sister in September. Both of these women also had birthdays in September, as did many of the family members who had turned out to be part of her special day.
She entered the water bringing a part of each of them and the lifetime they had created together. She knew that her act of giving herself to God would change her forever and she entered, hopeful that she might walk forever in the memory of her family, but with a newness that includes a deeper relationship with God.
When she came up from the water, there was a sense of joy that filled her face. Her smile was as broad as could be and she embraced the fullness of the moment as she swam and floated and bathed in the pure magic of the moment!
What do you remember about your baptism? Do you remember the amazement, the trust, the joy of the moment?
Some were baptized as infants and they cannot remember for themselves. They have to hear stories and trust the numbers who were witness. Some did not understand the event that was taking place and could not trust the Holy Spirit. Some remember their families entering into the moment with them.
What do you remember?
Jesus invites us to remember that in a brief moment, we died to our old self and then, just as he rose, so we also rose from that death to a new life. He wants us to know that in the moment we surrender ourselves to Him, we are truly changed and enter into an eternal life with Him that begins in that instant.
Those who believe this are privileged to serve as His witness and to share the Good News of His great love for all people. In the instant of baptism, Jesus promises change — a lasting, loving, long-awaited change that demands our complete love for one another.
It is this promise of change that allows us to walk in the newness of life! What do you remember? Amen!
This devotion was provided by Shepherd’s Grace Church Pastor Jack Dickson.