REMEMBER YOUR BAPTISM

One of my favorite United Methodist worship services each year is the Sunday when we take the opportunity to remember our baptism.  The goal is not to remember the day the pastor held you in his/her arms and put water on your head.  It’s also not about a specific date when you may have been baptized later in life upon coming to faith in Christ.  However, it’s about commemorating and celebrating being “incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit.”(UM Book of Worship, p.95)  It’s about having new clothes to wear!

 

      I’m reminded of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale about a vain emperor’s invisible clothes.  It continues to delight one generation of children and adults after another.  Though the emperor could not see his royal robes, he imagined that he looked regal and elegant as ever.  He was, in fact, naked.  Through your faith in Christ, you have been named a member of the God’s royal family, cleared of all charges against you in God’s court, and given new clothes to wear.  However, Satan cannot bear to see you happy and secure.  And like the loud child piping up in Anderson’s tale, he mocks you as being a fraud.  There maybe even some days that he hisses to you, attempting to let you know you are a failure, and that God doesn’t really love you, and you will always be a slave to your habits, hurts, and hang-ups.  Some days, he may even cause you to doubt that Christ’s work of love on the cross is a failure and that you are a “naked loser.”

 

      But you are not!  Though you can’t see your new clothes, they really are there!  Their existence is guaranteed by God’s own promise and sealed through your baptism.  “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).  That means that when God looks at you He doesn’t see the flaws, failures, and fears.  He sees only the holiness of His son, Jesus Christ.  Your new clothes are God’s gift to you.  Though free to you, they are priceless, for they were bought at the cost of our Savior willingly laying down His life for us on the cross. 

 

      As you “Remember Your Baptism,” and you are crossed on the forehead with water from the font, know that you have new clothes and wear them each day with gratefulness.

 

In His grip,

Pastor Tim