Baptism, All Saints’ Sunday 2016
I was watching one of the popular TV comedy shows last week—in which a new-born infant was baptized.
As the priest poured the water on the child—one of the spectators said:
“So basically—we’re water-boarding a baby!”
It was a funny moment that made me laugh.
It also made me think—about the upcoming baptism of Drake Bo Baker—which is happening today, on All Saints’ Sunday.
I started wondering what the un-initiated—the un-informed—might think about Christian Baptism.
Would they have any idea what it is—or what it means?
Would they be able to tell by watching what happens—and listening to the words?
“Water-boarding a baby” is not what we’re about today—although most of our young “baptismal candidates” scream as if it were!
What we’re about is making Drake Bo Baker a “Child of God”—and an “Inheritor of the Kingdom.”
That’s the way the old Episcopal Catechism puts it.
In biblical terms—Drake will be “born again—by water and the Holy Spirit.”
Without that—as Jesus said to Nicodemus—no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Romans chapter 6, the Apostle Paul talks about baptism as well.
He says that all who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his death.
Therefore we are buried with Christ by baptism into death—so that we might also be raised with Christ—and walk in newness of life.
For if we are united with Christ in a death like his—we will surely be united with him in a resurrection like his.
The water of baptism is a symbol of cleansing.
By baptism into Christ Jesus we are cleansed from our sins.
But it is also a symbol of death.
In baptism we die to sin—and are born again to Eternal Life.
That is what will happen to Drake today.
It is appropriate that Drake be baptized on All Saints’ Sunday.
That is one of the days the Prayer Book recommends for baptism.
It is also the Patronal Festival for this parish—which is dedicated to All the Saints.
And today—Drake Bo Baker will become a member—with all of us—of the Communion of Saints’—that Holy fellowship of all God’s People—in Heaven and on Earth.
And it is worth noting that Drake will be the third generation of his family to be baptized here at All Saints’.
The water that will be used to baptize Drake is from the River Jordan—where Jesus himself was baptized.
Elizabeth and I brought it back from our trip to the Holy Land.
And the olive oil that will be used to anoint Drake is from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The same ancient olive trees that Jesus walked among are still alive there today—and the oil comes from them.
Both the water and the olive oil connect Drake closely to Jesus Christ, the Son of God—who will always be Drake’s Savior and Lord.
The rest of us owe a debt of gratitude to Drake—and to his parents Bo and Liza—this morning:
First of all—because it is a joy to once more hear a young child present among us.
And secondly—because most of us do not remember our own baptism.
We were infants ourselves—and cannot recall the occasion.
But seeing Drake’s baptism reminds us of what happened to us—and gives us a chance to renew our own faith in Jesus Christ—as our Savior and Lord.
Finally, let me remind us all of a beloved Bible Story found in Mark chapter 10.
There we are told that parents were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed.
The disciples tried to stop them—but Jesus said:
“Let the little children come to me—and do not hinder them—for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Today—Jesus’ words are fulfilled for Drake.
By God’s Grace—he is becoming what we already are:
A Child of God and an Inheritor of the Kingdom.
And—by God’s Grace—each of us must become what Drake already is:
A little child.
For to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.
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