Bethel Lutheran Church
333 E. Ridge Street
Pastors’ Monthly Article
As worship team noticed the change in the location of the baptism font they suggested I write a little about baptism and the practice of getting some water from the font to give thanks for baptism. You may have noticed that the baptismal font has moved to the center of the aisle, closer to where most people enter the sanctuary. This is intentional and part of a movement of the larger church to reclaim and celebrate the centrality of baptism in our lives.
Baptism can be confusing and hard to get your mind around with all of the language and different images used to talk about it and the differences in practices between different denominations. The word baptism means ‘washing in water.’ A bath. God uses this ordinary thing, water, to bring us grace. Before we can do any great works, when we are still helpless and needy, dependent and unemployed, we baptize infants (and adults too) claiming that God’s love is gracious and unconditional. Baptism bathes us in God’s love and initiates us into the daily Christian walk of drowning to sin and all that separates us from God and the daily rising in the forgiveness of God. Each and every day of life.
Pastor Daniel Erlander says that Martin Luther celebrated and adored baptism. Whenever he was in doubt or despair, tormented by the devil, Luther would cry out: I AM BAPTIZED!
Living as a baptized child of God is a daily thing. One way you can engage baptism daily is through water. At worship too, you are invited to come past the font, take some water, and put it on your forehead. Maybe in the same sign of the cross you received in baptism.
You and I are embodied beings- we live in bodies. So often in worship we are asked to engage with our thinking minds but our bodies aren’t doing much. We sit and stand in some sort of odd Lutheran exercise program but really we don’t do much with our hands and feet and senses. Our bodies remember and know things in different ways when we engage using other senses or physical movements. So give it a try. Come by the font and get some water and give thanks for God’s daily love that revives you and sends you with the great message that all are precious and beloved in God’s eyes!
By the way, some have asked about making the sign of the cross. Isn’t that a Roman Catholic thing? Nope, Lutherans can do it too. Again, as a different mode of engaging God and walking in faith. It is simple- you touch your hand to your forehead, lower sternum, then left then right shoulder. I had to look up that left and right shoulder part. I do it differently
every time. I don’t think that is the point. The point is to let our bodies trust in Jesus in physical embodied ways. Not your thing? No problem. We are made wonderfully different and unique: you too live in the daily new life that comes from God.
Blessings to you in these wonderful days of summer,