Remember your baptism, and be thankful.
Many United Methodist congregations occasionally hold services that include a time to remember your baptism ( traditional | new). The goal is not to remember the day the pastor held you in her arms and put water on your head, but to remember that you are baptized and to reaffirm your baptismal vows.
Remembering that we are baptized, however, should not be limited to special worship services. We can find moments every day that remind us of our baptism and what it means in our daily living.
Many of us begin our day in the shower, and the waters that cleanse us can serve as a reminder of who we are in Christ Jesus. What a great way to greet the day!
The Rev. Adam Hamilton of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, wrote a prayer and had it printed on waterproof cards. Congregants were invited to hang the cards in their showers as a daily reminder. The prayer reads, "Lord, as I enter the water to bathe, I remember my baptism. Wash me by your grace. Fill me with your Spirit. Renew my soul. I pray that I might live as your child today, and honor you in all that I do."
You can order the cards from The Well Bookstore, of find a symbol of your own to place in your shower as a daily reminder.
We may similarly remember our baptism as we give our children their evening baths, wash the dishes, or even bathe the dog. There is a powerful connection between the waters that cleanse and the waters of baptism.
The vows of baptism
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin? I do.
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? I do.
Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races? I do.
According to the grace given to you, will you remain faithful members of Christ's holy Church and serve as Christ's representatives in the world? I will.
The Baptismal Covenant I
The United Methodist Church
A good rain has a way of renewing the earth. Plants open. The air smells crisp. The drops feel cool and refreshing.
Watching from your porch as a storm passes or standing in a gentle rain can serve as an opportunity to remember your baptism.
The rain, as Jesus taught, is indiscriminate. It falls on the good and the bad, the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). As United Methodists, our baptismal vows call us "to serve [Jesus as] Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races."
The rain can be a reminder that renewal is available to all by the grace of God.
During the summer months, pause to remember as you swim. Immersion in the water is a wonderful reminder that we live surrounded by the grace and presence of God.
The Bible teaches, "In God we live, move, and exist" (Acts 17:28 CEB), and that there is no place we can go to separate ourselves from God (Psalm 139). Being submerged in the water can serve as a great reminder of God's presence around us in every place and moment.
A new day
Part of baptism's symbolism is death and resurrection. Going into the water signifies dying to our old selves, and rising from the water our new life in Christ. Even when immersion is not the method used, we pray during the baptimal ritual, "that, dying and being raised with Christ, [those presented for baptism] may share in his final victory" (Baptismal Covenant I).
Every new day as we rise from sleep, we can take a moment to remember that we have been raised with Christ, and pray to live out the day ahead in newness with him.
When you were baptized, you probably received a certificate of baptism. Framing the certificate or the church's bulletin from that day, and displaying it on a nightstand, bureau, or another place you will see it daily, can serve as a great reminder.
Some congregations also give those baptized a gift like a candle, a cross, or some other memento of the occasion. While it may be tempting to put that in a special place in the attic for safekeeping, displaying it where you will see it regularly can remind you daily of who you are in Christ Jesus.
However you go about it, find ways to, "Remember that you are baptized, and rejoice!" (New Service of Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant).
This story was first posted on Sept. 1, 2017.