Jonathan was baptized last Sunday, on Pentacost. It was a beautiful service, and my fear that he would scream throughout the event did not come to pass. As silly as I know it to be, it did seem like it would have been such a bad beginning to scream when you’re brought into the body of Christ! But he did not scream…in fact, even his slight fussiness quieted when Gabe handed him to Father David.
I love the baptismal service. And the fact that it was Pentacost made it even better. It’s the one day in the whole year when the liturgical color is red, and the whole church is bright and vivid and alive with it. Appropriate, as the Holy Spirit is “the Lord, the giver of life.” I love how the promises are made, not only by (or in this case, for) the one being baptized, but also by the whole congregation. We all renew our own baptismal covenant during the service, and it’s such an amazing thing to have the whole church repeating the Apostle’s Creed together. “Do you believe in one God?” “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth” etc… There is something good and awesome and powerful in the body of Christ here on earth. As broken and fallen and impure as we are, Christ truly is present here in us. And now there is one more child of God in His covenant. We have promised to raise Jonathan to know God – he will, of course, have to make his own decision whether or not to follow God as he grows up – but our promise brings him into the covenant of the faithful just as circumcision brought each new baby into God’s covenant with the Israelites. There is something good and strong and safe in that knowledge. God’s grace is given, not by Jonathan’s merit or even his choice at this point, but simply given because God is love, and he loves his children and looks with favor and forgiveness on us, his church.