If you come to Spirit Garage on a regular basis, you may have noticed that a few months ago, the baptismal bowl became a permanent part of our worship space. I got a lot of questions asking, “are we having a baptism today?”
Yes….and No…will most often be the answer!
My belief is that baptism is a way of recognizing God’s claim on us as children of God, and a tool for this life for when you don’t feel adequate enough. I don’t believe it is about us deciding anything about God, or keeping us out of hell. I think it is about a moment when we hear God say “Yes” to us, and the Christian community around us also says “Yes.” Yes, you are a child of God; Yes, you are a part of this big Christian family.
(For the record, I believe God says yes to you even before you are baptized, but this is a moment when we hear and experience that word of grace)
The font is out all the time because it can serve as a daily reminder of God’s “Yes” to us. So when you walk into the worship space, you can dip your fingers in that water, maybe make the sign of the cross on your forehead, say to yourself, “I am a child of God” and remember that God says yes to you. Maybe that is helpful on days when it seems like the world has said “no” to you, or on days when you can’t quite say “yes” to yourself.
You might ask…what about the water? Last week as we were cleaning up, I asked someone to empty the font, and they looked at me…and said, “just like…outside?” Yep. Because for us, it is just water. God chooses to communicate God’s grace through the most ordinary of physical elements (water, wine, bread), with words of promise attached to those elements. But I don’t do anything magical to the water or wine or bread that makes it something different than ordinary. So it is okay to just dump it. (Though sometimes, when I do this, I remind the earth that it too is a child of God.)
So also, that water that reminds you that you are a child of God doesn’t have to be in a baptismal font at church. It could be in your sink when you wash your face.
And you might ask…What if I’m not baptized? As I said earlier, I believe God says yes to you before or outside of baptism. But I’m also super happy to talk with anyone about being baptized, so contact me if you’re interested in or thinking about hearing and experiencing those words with the water spoken over you, and being claimed as a child of God and part of the family of God. Baptism is known as a sacrament, which basically means it is a gift of God’s grace communicated and experienced with words of promise from God attached to ordinary elements, and we do them because there was some place in the gospels where Christ said, “you should do this.”
So yes-since a baptism is for every day, it is happening today, and if you are baptized you can remember that this promise was made over you. And no, most weeks we aren’t having a baptism. But it is part of what we are about all the time.
Have other questions about baptism? Feel free to ask me—either email me with questions or to set up a time to meet.
Pastor at Spirit Garage