Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:3-5
My immediate family has spent more time together over the last few weeks that we have in the last five years. That has meant lots of games and quite a few movies. This past weekend we watched the new Lion King movie (I regret to admit that I had never seen the first one). But one thing that struck me in the movie was the admonition of the father to the son, “Remember who you are!”
One of my favorite services of the year as a parish pastor was the Easter Vigil. Much of the service is about remembering. The Service of Readings is about remembering God’s faithfulness demonstrated in the past to Noah, Moses and the Israelites, Daniel, the “Three Men in the Fiery Furnace”, and so many others. It is good for us to remember how God has rescued and redeemed His children throughout Old and New Testaments alike.
But there is a portion of the Vigil that involves remembering and that is the Service of Baptism. While some years there are baptisms to celebrate, other years it is a time for each of us to remember that we are God’s baptized children today. Remembering the cross being traced over our forehead and heart and the splash of the water connected with the Word is clinging to the grace and mercy of God. Whether your congregation has an Easter Vigil or not, it is good for you to remember who you are! “God’s own child I gladly say it, I am baptized into Christ!” For a time such as this where the community of saints are not able to gather together physically for worship, we should pause to remember how we became saints – in the waters of Holy Baptism.
St. Paul specifically connects the blessings of Holy Baptism with Christ’s death and resurrection. We celebrate this connection in the Easter Vigil, but you can also do so by simply making the sign of the cross and remembering your baptism, remembering who you are in Christ. While we may be “distant” from one another, we can also rejoice that are united with one another across the globe as God’s baptized children. During this Holy Week, may you find comfort and strength in God’s Word as it is delivered through a video service or a printed sermon. But may you also be strengthened as you remember who you are as baptized child of God.
Prayer – Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned hardhearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, foreshadowing this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin. We pray that You would behold us all according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with true faith by the Holy Spirit, that through this saving flood all sin in us, which has been inherited from Adam and which we ourselves have committed since, would be drowned and die. Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan