Mark 1:4-8 (CEB)
4 John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5 Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Momentarily, my room filled with hairspray, I put on the only heels I had brought with me to Europe and wandered my way down to the first floor of our community house. I could hear laughter and music already. It was my first time attending a Baptismal Birthday Party and I really wasn’t sure to expect.
Earlier that day, at morning prayers, our Swedish Lutheran colleague had shared that it was her baptismal birthday and she wanted to make a big deal out of it. Being in an intentional ecumenical community was making her think quite critically and lovingly on her baptism many years ago, and she wanted to begin practicing remembering it like she would a birthday.
This was a completely out-of-the-box idea to me. I know the date of my baptism, the church and who my godmother is, but beyond that I hadn’t really thought much about it. This struck me, why don’t I really think about it? I don’t remember mine personally as I was only 4 months old but why don’t I take time to remember it spiritually?
The Baptismal Birthday Party was fun and it was lovely hearing reflections from my colleagues of all different denominations on the impact their baptism has had on their lives. A few days later, I stepped out to walk over to the Château where we eat breakfast. There was a light drizzle. I initially paused contemplating whether it was worth running back up to the third floor to grab my umbrella. Then I opted to simply be rained on. I silently prayed as I walked, remembering with each step the blessed gift that is my baptism.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Whether you have been baptized or are contemplating baptism, what is one thing you can do today to remember your baptism or to think about what baptism means? Perhaps in the shower, while filling the dogs water bowl, while washing dishes. Water is so prevalent in our day-to-day lives, how can we include God in on that?
Prayer: Gracious God, through John your Son was baptized with your Holy Spirit. May we look upon even the simplest parts of our day as a way to remember this outward sign of an inward gift of grace. Amen.
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