Danger! Baptismal Water!

I Am Baptizedby Demi Prentiss

On Sunday the preacher, referencing Luke’s story of the baptism of Jesus, reminded the congregation, “The baptized life is risky business.” She shared an excerpt from a poem by Richard Jespersen in the book I Am Baptized:

Danger!

Baptismal water!

A relentless undertow of grace,

crosscurrents pulling us in over our heads

and out of our depth in Christ;

the drowning of the self-as-god

and the rising of the self-in-Christ.

God buries in a watery grave everything not of God

and raises to new life everything of God,

our watery Good Friday and Easter….

In water,

we see reflections of the world as it is.

In baptismal water, we see reflections of the world as it will be,

and we are changed.

To live the baptized life

is to follow

the way of the water and Word.

To live baptized is to walk wet.

The risk in walking wet is the risk of vulnerability. While fear holds us back and imprisons us, the courage to allow ourselves to be vulnerable sets us free, to live fully into the identity God dreams for us.

Walk wet. Walk with Jesus, who reminds us, even in the midst of the storm, “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” (The Message, Mark 6:50)

With thanks to The Rev. Joy Daley, rector of the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Dallas, TX

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What does baptism mean?

by Demi Prentiss

There’s plenty of debate among theologians and scholars as to the meaning of Jesus’ baptism. There’s much less uncertainty around what our own baptisms mean for us:

  • We have joined God’s mission.
  • We are commissioned to pattern our lives after Jesus – the very definition of being a follower.
  • We are sent out from our safe havens to be risk-takers, helping to shape a more loving and more just world.

Simple. Not easy.

To deal with that problem, Adam Hamilton, as he recounts in his book The Way, gave each of his 8,000 congregants a laminated tag to hang in the shower. He asked them to pray these words each day:

Lord, as I enter the water to bathe, I remember my baptism. Wash me again 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. Amen.

 Simple. Not easy. So remember to walk wet. It takes practice.