Last night, I was the presider at our Saturday service. We talked about how Jesus showed us the place to start in our own ministries: in baptism. He rose dripping from the waters of the Jordan, and Mark states the heavens were "torn apart". The Spirit descended as a dove, and God himself from heaven spoke of His love for the Son.
Some folks struggle through their whole lives without ever hearing a word of love; all they know is anger and rejection. Hearing someone say I love you – you are beloved – would be a life-changing experience. Like Jesus, when we reflect on our own baptism, we hear again those precious words said not just to Jesus, but to you and to me, "You are my child… the beloved. I am so pleased with you." As beloved, we can walk out into the world with a different attitude.
Then, the congregation was sprinkled with water from the font with these words: “May the Holy Spirit, who has begun a good work in you, direct and uphold you in the service of Christ and his kingdom.” I did not plan this, but at the end, I just handed the water and the small pine branch we were using to an older woman in our congregation and asked her to sprinkle me. I said, “I need to remember my baptism too.” She was hesitant, and gave a first mild attempt without getting any water on me. I told her to try it again – she totally nailed me, and we all laughed.
After everyone was gone, I went out to my car to drive home, and there was a light rain falling. As the drops hit my face it seemed that now it was God’s turn to baptize me and remind me who I am.