13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
There are many different forms of Baptism, some churches baptize only adults, who have an understanding of what Baptism is, and other churches mostly baptize infants, whose parents and god-parents promise to raise the child within the church, and to teach them about the faith we share. Some are Baptized with a dab of water in the form of a cross on their heads, others are immersed in the water, until they are about to run out of breath, only to be released and rise up out of the water gasping for air.
This is more like Jesus’ Baptism, when he came to the Jordan and asked John to baptize him in the river. Going into the water is a symbol of the end of our old life, and rising up out of the water, and getting that first big breath, signifies the beginning of a new life, a life of faith and commitment to the Gospel: the good news of God’s love for us all!
Whether it is full immersion of an adult or the sign of the cross marked on the head of an infant, Baptism is the start of something new, it is a promise to walk in faith, and to be open to learning of how God wants to be in relationship with us, and how God wants us to be in relationship with each other, so that we can share our faith together.
Baptism is a significant event in the lives of our children, no matter how old they are when they are baptized, and as parents who walk in the footsteps of Christ we are called to live the Baptismal Promise on a daily basis, by teaching our children about our faith, bringing them to church, and praying with them; also by showing them how to have compassion for ourselves and for those in need (which covers about everyone).
As single parents, it may not always be easy to keep our Baptismal Promise, as many of us have had to deal with dramatic and painful changes in the life of our family, and may had had to start life over again, in a new home, new place, and with a new perspective. In the midst of this turmoil, it can be easy to lose sight of that promise we made at Baptism, as it is all we can do to simply manage our lives, and the lives of our children…one day at a time.
It seems remarkable that our faith could wind up on the back-burner during times of trouble, but sometimes that is what happens, as we struggle to build new lives, and manage the changing dynamic within our families.
However, it is at times like this, when faith is most needed…when we may feel overwhelmed by life, and change, and faced with making a new beginning, and how it effects our family…but this is what Baptism is about: starting over, and making changes…moving in a new direction, just like Jesus did when he rose up out of the waters of the Jordan.
As he emerged from the waters, the voice of God could be heard, proclaiming love and support for Jesus and his mission, the promise of God’s presence and support in his life, as he began to walk his own difficult road of change
When things get tough, our hope comes from remembering that Baptism is more than just a ceremony that takes place on a Sunday morning, but an on-going event. Once Baptized we never lose the promise of God’s love and presence with us (and some may argue that this promise is with us whether we were Baptized or not).
God’s love stays with us and our children always, through good times and the not so good…reminding us that we are well-loved children of God, and no matter what happens, or what we do, we are never separated from this love, just as our children can never escape our love and concern…no matter how far they wander away…we are always with them.
Let us Pray
God, thank you for your Baptismal Promise to us, to love us and make us a part of your family. Please help us to keep the promises we made at Baptism, for ourselves and for our children…to love them, guide them, and teach them about faith, and your great love and forgiveness. Help us to hold tight to the promise of Baptism on a daily basis…as Baptism is an on-going event, giving us support and love that sees us through the hard travels of our life together.