-– Lisa Kimball, Ph.D, Project Director – Baptized for Life
I started my day with a long hike through the woods with a good friend and both of our dogs. It was sunny and crisp. The 32-degree temperature didn’t stop the dogs playing enthusiastically in the river. As we returned to the parking lot with content, wet dogs, prepared to go our separate ways, they bounded into a muddy swamp. In a moment, they were covered in stinky, slimy silt. Back to the river we went. And once again, the dogs came out of the water washed clean. My mind jumped immediately to baptism. It is not just a one-time spiritual birth, but a continuing journey shaped by vows that are always available to refresh and renew our hope, faith, and love. There are times we all need to jump back into the water.
As our country writhes in the grip of a raging Coronavirus pandemic and white supremacy runs unchecked through the halls and heart of our democracy, people are naturally frightened, angry, uncertain, lost. Confidence, individual and collective, is shaken to the core. People are emotionally exhausted, brittle, longing for a future they cannot yet see.
Once again, the Christian liturgical year provides stability and direction when we need it most. On this First Sunday after Epiphany, we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. We are invited to reaffirm our own Baptismal Covenant and, in that action, re-member who we actually are. We are led back to the font where our sins of omission and commission were washed away as we renounced evil and affirmed the unconditional love of God for all of creation. Before any national or political affiliation, before any description of age, gender, race, ethnicity, class, or sexual orientation, we are members of the Body of Christ. From today’s Collect, “Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior.” Let us who are #BaptizedForLife – be hope, be healing, and be justice wherever we go.