Sunday, January 13, 2013
Today we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord.
As a Sunday school we shared our baptismal items: gowns, candles, certificates, bulletins, stories, and memories. The body of Christ called to live out our callings as God's beloved. We took time to celebrate our neighbors at the elementary school next door and shared our thanks for their work with the youth. We talked about full names and when they get used, what our names mean, and how God gives us a new name that cannot and will not ever be taken away from us.
Beloved. Child of God.
We were drenched in the love of a God who knows each of us intimately and deeply. We even ate baptismal themed snacks - blue jello cups and brownies with baptismal symbols. Drenched in the goodness.
The reminders of God's call surrounded us.
During worship we spoke the words of the Thanksgiving for Baptism, sang all those hymns that bring tears to your eyes, and gathered at the font.
One by one, the beloved children of God came forward. My husband, Stephen, and I welcomed the congregation to the font. What a privilege to look into their eyes, to see them for a moment as God sees them, and to touch their foreheads with water.
Each person came forward for the blessing. And with each dipping of my hand into the water, I too was blessed, and drenched.
Drenched with water and the love of a community.
Drenched in the reminder of mercy and forgiveness.
Drenched with story after story of God's love for all people.
Drenched with the hope of peace.
Drenched in God's kingdom here on earth.
The congregation had all come forward and the music continued. Stephen and I were still up front and he turned towards me.
"Oh yes, I always forget about receiving the blessing myself."
Stephen places his hand on my head, marks the sign of the cross and speaks the words I had just uttered to others, the words I needed to hear:
"Child of God, remember you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever."
In that moment I was no longer pastor and he was no longer seminarian. In that moment all that mattered was the water and the word. God's word and God's abundant grace overflowing into our lives. It was just a moment and it was fleeting, but it was real and incarnate and brought the kingdom of God to earth.
For just a moment.
We were drenched.