Two years ago, today, my daughters were baptized. We tried to figure out how to begin a tradition of remembering their baptism tonight, but one of the girls doesn't feel well. With two-year-olds, that can be a deal breaker.
There are any number of memorable things about their baptism, but in particular I have been struck by one image and what it says about the life of the baptized. After the service, Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori signed the service register and the baptismal certificates. Then she turned to the girls' new prayerbooks. We had not filled out the baptism page. We had put a post-it with a first name mark the baptismal page.
Bishop Katharine could have just signed the book on the right line, leaving us to fill in the details. That would have been plenty. After all, she was in vestments and kneeling at a table to fill out paperwork. But Bishop Katharine did more--she filled in all of the blanks.
It is a small thing: a full name, a place, a date (twice). But it has become an unexpected image of the baptismal life to me. At baptism, we take a vow to uphold the newly baptized in their life in Christ. Sometimes, that looks like teaching Sunday School, being a confirmation mentor, or just being a kind listener. Sometimes, it looks like the Presiding Bishop, kneeling, filling in ALL of the blanks.
On Sunday, we will mark the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and we will renew our baptismal vows. What are your images of the baptized life? Indeed, participating in the life of the church, forsaking evil, proclaiming the good news, seeking Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself, striving for justice and peace, and respecting the dignity of all people make good places to start.
But today, I've been working backwards. How can I have the grace and humility to kneel at a table and fill in all of the blanks? Where is that in my life today?
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