On Baptism

by Lowell Chilton in ,

I wrote some brief thoughts on Baptism and thought I'd share. 

One of my earliest memories of baptism is the question “Have you been saved?” directed at me by a neighborhood kid when I was in 3rd grade. Being raised Lutheran, I had already been baptized as an infant, and I told him this but the question lingered. I didn’t quite know how to answer him. However, knowing the Apostles Creed for as long as I can remember, the line “I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin” rang in my ears and I knew that I was saved, whatever that meant.

Later, I began to recognize that baptism was deeper than the “ticket to heaven” and was a sign of the dual covenant between the people and God and within the people to each other. The baptism ceremony in my father’s churches always involved an element of introducing the people to the baptized and vice versa that instilled the notion of responsibility of the community to the baptized. When we participate in the celebration of Baptism, we are re-entering into the covenant with one another and with all people. We receive this sign as the gift of God’s promise of grace and as the commission to carry that grace to all people with joy.

Recently I have begun to experience baptism as the utter joy in the presence of God and the wondrous thing that is entering into the community of Christ that is the Church. I say experience because at every baptism but one that I have attended in the last 3 years I have teared up and been overwhelmed by this sense of the Spirit moving through the community into the world. Accepting responsibility for teaching, guiding, loving, and forming a new member of Christ’s Church is an awesome thing and it pushes the soul closer to God. This sign of God’s love comes to us as a gift and pulls us deeper into relationship with God.