Baptism means bath. It is a washing in the storied waters that connect the one who is baptized with the one who covered 2/3rds of the earth with water when it was first fashioned. Baptism is a vital part of our Christian faith. It is a common thread woven throughout the scriptures.
The Great Flood in Genesis 6 and the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus 14 are two foundational stories that provide context and imagery for what takes place at the font. Baptism is cleansing and it is deliverance. It removes from us sin and death–washing us clean. And, it brings us out of slavery and into freedom. Baptism breaks the chains of bondage that hold us back and pin us down in our brokenness. Through the water and the Word we are released into the fulness of life, faith, and grace. Baptism is all about what God does to us because of what He has done for us in Christ Jesus on the cross and in the tomb that is empty.
At Prince of Peace, Baptism is a pillar of our faith–both in a communal sense and personally as we live out the life of the baptized. We baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit according to the command of Jesus in Matthew 28. And, as our Lutheran theology articulates so well, the grace that washes us in baptism is a full and complete gift from God. This is God’s great work, not ours. It is for this reason that we baptize young and old alike. We also only baptize one time. The promises made in baptism find their epicenter in God, not us. God washes. God adopts. God forgives. God claims. God names. God embraces. God works in baptism. And, even though we stray and fall away from living out our baptism, the promises of the Lord remain.
In many European churches and cathedrals the baptismal font is located near the entrance to the church building–sometimes in a separate building that stands close to the main entrance. This is because baptism is the way that we enter into the community of faith. As the water and the Word are poured over you, you become a child of God, a member of the church, and you are welcomed into the community in a formal way. Baptism, while profoundly personal, is a communal affair. Baptism is about all of God’s people and the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
If you have not been baptized, nothing would bring me greater joy than to talk with you about next steps for you to be washed, named, and claimed by Jesus. Truly, I’d love to share more about how God works through this sacrament and how it welcomes you into the Jesus story. Seriously, let’s talk.