On Sunday, December 2nd last year, I had the privilege of baptizing Nazaro Montgomery (use of name and story granted by permission of his parents). He is a beautiful little boy of nineteen months and as precocious as any toddler can be. There are moments when I still laugh out loud at myself trotting around behind this child to the 3rd and 4th pews, trying to put water on his head, and offering the magic words:
“I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Trust me when I tell you that Nazaro seemed to have little interest in it at all and I never did get to apply the anointing oil on his forehead (smile).
Still, it was a wonderful and sacred moment that I continue to treasure. Despite his parents and my best efforts to keep things contained, he was allowed the freedom to roam about and make himself right at home, which is actually the point, isn’t it? It was also special to have four generations of his family gathered to witness the occasion.
Even though I was baptized in a different faith tradition, I value the United Methodists’ polity on infant baptism because it suggests that long before we uttered a word or did any acts of charity or benevolence; before we knew our own name or the difference between good and evil; before we ever had God on our mind, God wanted us and claimed us as God’s own. Therefore God’s love is not predicated on what we say or do but on God’s extravagant amazing grace and mercy. That’s worth celebrating and affirming, which we will do this Sunday during our worship services.
Being born through water and Spirit, little Nazaro is fully initiated into the family of God. Years from now, he may not remember Sunday, December 2, 2018 but his baptism is valid forever and ever, as is our own.
Remember your baptism and be thankful!
Grace and peace,