Renewal of Baptismal Vows
“I baptize you with water, but someone is coming after me.” – Matthew 3:11
It sounds so odd during Lent to remember John the Baptizer, who announced the real power that was coming next. Lots of people renew their baptismal vows on Easter. Maybe we can give water some love today and give ourselves a chance to remember our baptisms. Why? To get ready for the death of yesterday and the new life of tomorrow. We likely know both.
I once baptized six people in one family at an old country chapel high up in the Catskills. One was 56; one was 44, one was 12; one was 8; and the twins were 1. Part of the power of that August baptism was what the people wore and how the place smelled. White linen was the theme, although the twins were dressed in white lace covering crinoline dresses their mother had sewn.
The chapel was made of local stone, smelled of Episcopalian incense, and cuddled its hill. The great and grandmother of the group had hinted but not required that she would love to see those in her brood who so chose to be baptized. Many of the families were blended, and first, second and third partners joined those of the moment in a very pure-feeling event. White linen in many ways.
Can you remember what you wore at your baptism? I gave my white gown to my now-deceased brother for his son. Do you remember how connected your birth is to your death, how married Easter is to Good Friday? There is a power greater even than water.
Deliver us to our memories, O God, and let your delivery system rival even that of Amazon’s. Three-day free ground delivery, and right on time. Amen.