Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”. Matthew 3:13-18
Sunday afternoon, I was knee deep in the lake with four of my cousins and the four-month old that belonged to two of them. Getting a baptism scheduled at their church has proved to be extra challenging in this time of Covid, so the request was made if I would take care of things this weekend as both of our families would be at our respective and neighboring cabins. It was an honor to be asked and a joy to be able to say yes. With grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a few more cousins watching from the dock, our baptismal group waded into the shallow water and turned to face them.
We read this text from Matthew to be reminded of why baptism matters in our lives of faith. Baptism is one of the key moments when we not only hear God’s promise to love us, we also get to feel that promise wash over our heads. As I read through the baptismal liturgy, I splashed the water around our gathered group, reminding each of us of how this same promise has flowed around us our whole lives.
That we were in the lake where this child will return regularly was an added gift. Every time he goes for a swim, each time he jumps off the dock, each time he falls water skiing, each time floats on his back and looks up at the clouds, he’ll be able to remember that he is a beloved child of God. And those of us gathered around on Sunday have the responsibility to teach and remind him of this truth as he grows older.
Think about the collection of people who were gathered together on your baptism day. How did those people shape and share in your life over the years as you grew older? How was God’s love for you reflected in how they have loved you?
Today, when you are washing your hands or the dishes, maybe when you’re under the shower head or in the tub, or when you’re drinking from a glass, as you feel the water, be reminded of how much God has loved you throughout your whole life. Let the simplicity of this act remind you that the formula is just as simple. God loved you yesterday, God loves you today, and God will love you tomorrow.
Thanks be to God.
Peace be with you this day. -Pastor Peter