Remembering Our Baptism

I was not baptized as an infant. My parents did not attend a sacramental church. In fact, my family seldom ever attended a church. I entered the baptismal waters as a teenager. This teenage baptism was the result of attending a “revival” meeting and a religious experience that were the beginning steps of my spiritual journey.

Since this baptism was not in a sacramental church, I was not told that my baptism was by the Holy Spirit and would bring me into the covenant given by our Lord but by a minister who counseled me to view this act as a witness of my obedience in accepting Christ. Needless to say, my baptism did not have as much meaning for me then as it does now.

The sacramental church I belong to now accepts this baptism because they believe there is one baptism (even though most non-sacramental churches do not). Even though I pastored non-sacramental churches for over 30 years, I was never fully satisfied with the theology of baptism it was taught. I have to admit I allowed some sacramental people who had been baptized as adults join the churches I pastored. I never, ever told anyone that their baptism as a child was not valid. For this act of heresy, I am not ashamed.

Now, as I seek a deeper walk with my Lord and my spiritual journey is both past/future in its theological construct, I walk in the present with my baptism as one of my secure spiritual ties with my Lord and faith. I carry a card with me with the words, “I have been baptized. I belong to God. I am new in Christ.” (My thanks to David DeSilva and his book, Sacramental Life, for this practice).

I read this card nearly every day. I desire to remember my baptism, no, I need to remember. My baptism has made me part of the Church, not just a church. My baptism is founded upon reality and a promise; Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ has come again. What a wonderful gift is this sacramental act that God gives to us!

In our home, we have an altar. On this altar are a cross, a paten and challis,  a baptismal bowl, towel, and baptismal certificate. to also help me to remember my baptism, to honor my baptism, and to seek to live my baptism. This act of memory continually provides me with food for contemplation, celebration, and anticipation of the promises of my Lord and my God.

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