Mark 1:4-8: And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with[a] water, but he will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
Several of my colleagues have mentioned the renewal of Baptism Liturgy which took place in their congregations Sunday. After attending the early service at my own church, Shirley and I watched Myers Park UMC streaming their service (something we do on a regular basis). Dr. Howell led the congregation through the liturgy of the renewal of Baptism. It took a while to accomplish but it was a holy moment in the life of this church and the lives of these people.
One of the illustrations he used in his sermon was the splash of water in your face that is so refreshing, renewing, restoring, so reminding us of who we are… and whose we are. He mentioned riding on his bicycle on a hot day and seeing a lawn sprinkler spraying out into the street or maybe on the side walk, and turning his bike so that he rides right through that spray. The spray in the face is so refreshing… awakening.
I remember the cold water splash in the face on a hot summer day. I had not connected it with Baptism until James intentionally rides through the sprinkler. I sought to remember how that water felt as it splashed in my face and ran down my body. It was refreshing and renewing. Prior to it I was just about spent in the heat of the day. But now I have found a renewed strength to make it through more of the game, more energy to give more of myself to the tasks before me.
Certainly Baptism is God’s adoption of us into God’s family. From time to time we forget that we have given ourselves to God and seek to be disciples. Splashes of water come along every once in a while and we are able to do as Martin Luther says: “Remember our Baptism.” Every time we hear the Bible read; every time we see the cross of Christ; every time we see love in action: every time we feel that tug upon our souls to go into the world to lift the lives of those in need, and in many other times… we remember our Baptism … remember our family… remember our God… remember our calling.
As someone has said we need to live wet. May we live wet remembering our Baptism.
Dear Lord, splash the renewing and refreshing waters of Baptism in my face and help me to remember your love is for all your children, in and through Jesus. Help me to live wet. Amen.
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