5/6 January £825.41
FAITH IN FOCUS: BAPTISM RING?
If a man or woman wears a ring on their finger it’s often a sign that they are married. It’s a way of reminding themselves and others that they’ve committed themselves to another person totally and forever. But just wearing the ring doesn’t make them married; nor does it automatically make them faithful. It’s a sign or symbol of their commitment. If they’re to be faithful to each other then they have to live out their commitment day in day out. The same is true of baptism. Baptism is a sacramental sign that we have been given salvation in Christ. But just being baptised doesn’t mean we’re “saved”. Our baptism has to be a genuine sign, like the ring. We have to live out our baptism rather than simply acting as though it was something that was over and done with one Sunday in church long ago.
There’s a difference between a wedding and a marriage. You can get a wedding planner to help you make your big day go well but you can’t get a marriage planner. That’s because a wedding only lasts a day but a marriage lasts a lifetime and needs working at day after day. Perhaps we could say that a “Christening” takes a day but a baptism takes a lifetime. Christians need to work at their baptism just like a married couple need to work at their marriage.
When a person is baptised by being fully immersed in water, what we are witnessing is essentially a type of funeral. We are saying that this man or woman in going down into the tomb with Christ and rising again to new life. The old person that they used to be is now dead and buried, and they are taking on a new life in Christ.
So when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord we are reminded that every day brings a fresh opportunity for us to work on our own baptism: to offer God the best we have (to be priests), to speak out about the values of God’s kingdom (to be prophets) and to protect and enhance the creation that God has gifted us with (to be kings and queens). Baptism is not a step that some adults can take. For those of us who have already taken it, today’s feast is an occasion for thanksgiving and recommitment.