by Pam Tinsley
During Sunday services, following the heart-breaking news of children being separated from their parents at the border, we renewed our baptismal promises as we baptized a three-year old boy. Jake, his family, and his sponsors were seated together, filling the first two pews in the church. As the liturgy began, I was struck that Jake was on a border, too: He was about to cross the border into new life in Christ – and he was surrounded by his supportive family and church community.
Baptism is life-changing and is not to be taken lightly. We make promises to God, or promises are made on our behalf, as to how we will live our lives as faithful followers of Christ. We, the church community, not only promise to do everything within our power to support the newly baptized in their life in Christ, we also renew our own baptismal promises, one of which is:
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
This past Sunday’s baptism was particularly poignant. After the preacher assured us that Jake, strengthened by his participation in the Body of Christ, will grow in his faith and become an instrument of God’s grace and love, he reminded us, the congregation, that our own baptismal vows obligate us to put our faith into action. When we say that we will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being, we are promising to participate in God’s work of reconciliation and to help heal our world’s brokenness. We are promising to stand up for just treatment of the most vulnerable among us, especially those who are oppressed.
Today, the most vulnerable are innocent children who have been separated from their parents.
Putting our faith into action is serious ministry, and it takes place outside the doors of our churches. It takes place when we share our concerns with our neighbors; when we speak up against abuses of power; and when as citizens we engage with our civic and government representatives. Putting our faith into action is our baptismal ministry.
How will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being – today?