Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thinking about Baptism

Tomorrow we baptize a member of Circle of Grace.

One of our traditions during an adult baptism is to go around the circle and have each of us  share the experience and memory of our own baptism. What did it mean to you? we ask. Tell the truth, we say.  There are many right answers and no wrong ones. What does it mean to you now? We reflect on and claim baptism's meaning for us then and now.

Then I will share this reflection:

Parents carry in their deepest places the memory of the miracle of you. 

As a mother I know that even when my daughter has disappointed me or made me angry or frustrated me beyond belief, I still and always see in her the miracle of who she is.  

And I’ve learned through loving her and through knowing myself as a child of Godde, daughter of Barbara and Lenny that even when I stumble and back track and stall in my journey I am still that miracle,
            …that my daughter is that miracle
            …that you are that miracle
            …that this one about to be baptized is that miracle.

Our age and experiences, our shortcomings – even our disasters can never negate the deepest truth of who we are:  we are a miracle.  Your “you-ness” is the miracle of you and that is the knowledge Godde always holds of you.

Thinking about baptism as birth helps us claim the deep way that we know Godde and Godde knows us.  With the miracle of each one’s birth we remember Godde’s laboring to bring forth creation. Godde sees the miracle in us not only in our first moments or months of life but in us each and every day of our lives…  When we emerge from the waters of baptism Godde claims our Christ-self and invites us to claim our Christ-self.
The miracle of the oldest among us is as sweet to Godde as the miracle of the newest among us.  Godde sees and loves each of us and treasures each of us as intensely as we treasure a babe newly thrust from the womb.

 In our baptism that is the truth we are called to recognize about one another.  At the table where we share the Eucharist that is the truth we are called to recognize about one another – not to the exclusion of the rest of humanity, but out the depths of our own humanity we experience the universal nature of Godde's love. Invited into an awareness of our deepest being or witnessing and affirming another through baptism impels us, obliges us, urges us, to see the miracle of every member of the human family.

When we are able to truly see ourselves or one another in the light of baptism we can  encourage and remind each another to claim it. Claim what it means to be a miracle. Claim what it means t be a child of Godde.  And  as brothers and sisters, as family and friends we also claim it for you.

Years ago in the mini-series “Roots” the character played by Cecily Tyson said that each time a baby was born into the slave community that parents and friends would peek into the tiny face and ask, “Are you the one?”   Are you the one who will liberate us?  Who will heal us?  Who will free us? Are you the one who will be Christ in the world?
… Mary, singing the Magnificat claimed that her child was “the one” as did Hannah, Samuels mother, who sang the song ages before Mary.  In “Roots” the questioners knew that each one could be “the one” because at birth we see more clearly the miracle of that one.  The potential of that one.  The capacity of that one… The sacredness of that one.
So when we meet together to claim the sacredness of a sister or brother in Christ through baptism let us challenge ourselves to be who we are called to be:  children of Godde, builders of the kin-dom, the embodiment of Christ in the world.

            Let us look around the circle and ask, “Are you the one?”
            And let the people say, “ I am.”

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