Good day friends, we been blessed with a wonderful and colourful fall. God's canvas is showing signs of the onset of winter where Mother Earth retreats into herself and sleeps. Preparing for a burst of spring once again! Nature reminds us how we should live within our own body. It is through God that we remember to take time and meditate to hear wisdom and guidance.
With Canadian Thanksgiving behind us and our friends to the south awaiting the celebration of Thanksgiving in November we are in a neutral zone. I always like to think of this time as a place where we are between thanks. As Canadians we are immersed in the American culture and so we have the blessing of actually witnessing two opportunities to give thanks.
This Sunday at my church we will celebrate the sacrament of baptism. I was raised in a church where infants were not baptized. Once an adult you would make the choice to become baptized into your faith. In the Presbyterian Church infant baptism is an act of faith bestowed upon a baby. A gift of love from the parents as they publically show they believe we are all God's children. We read in Mark that Jesus was baptized by John (the Baptist) as an adult and "just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit decending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "you are my son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:10,11) This always puzzled me. I wondered if Jesus was baptized as an adult where is the change?
With this in mind I have been researching baptism and am finding the meaning of this sacrament to go far beyond my comprehension. Many religions have adult baptism, known as "believer's baptism" and struggle with the baptism of infants. However, John Calvin said the sacraments are "a testimony of God's favour toward us, confirmed by an outward sign, with a mutual testifying of our godliness toward [him] God." St. Augustine said sacraments are "the Word made visible". As Reformers we see the sacraments as seals.* Infant baptism is the gift parents give to their child as a statement of faith that they believe in the presence of God in our lives. This is a day of celebration.
I never understood my own baptism which happened when I was 12 years old until I began understanding other's baptism and preparing for the service I will be a part of at my church this upcoming Sunday. This is the second time I have been blessed with the opportunity to hold, participate and co-lead over baptism and the more I help and witness the deeper I believe.
God blesses us in our lives and baptism is an outward sign of an inner connection with God through the resurrected Christ. Praise be to God!
* Excerpts from This Presbyterian Church of Ours by John Congram