Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 27, 2013
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of October 27, 2013
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As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
"Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed. Thank you
for forwarding this to your friends.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Ever since Christ instituted this sacrament of grace, people have often remembered the day of their baptism as a source of spiritual comfort and encouragement when life is difficult. Baptism is a holy sacrament mandated by Jesus Christ himself for every believer. It is an outward and visible sign to the world, indicating our public identification as a disciple of Christ. Baptism helps us focus on the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. Different churches and denominations vary in their interpretation of baptism, but all agree that Jesus expects this of us as a willing act of obedience. Baptism is part of Christian discipleship and signifies the beginning of our new life in Christ. It is also a rite of initiation into the Christian church.
In today's verse, Jesus gives us the Trinitarian statement for baptismal use. Some churches and believers prefer the original language of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As language continues to evolve, more inclusive and contemporary formulas are sometimes preferred. One such inclusive Trinitarian formulation is "Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit." All, I believe, are worthy of our deepest respect, for baptism is an intensively personal decision.
Realize that baptism does not make us Christian; rather, it symbolizes our public confession of faith and personal commitment to Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. It symbolizes that we are buried with Christ by baptism into death, and as Christ was raised from the dead, we too, are raised to walk in newness of life.
Jesus himself was baptized at the beginning of his earthly ministry and thus gave us an example to follow. He never asks us to do anything he himself was unwilling to do. It is significant that as part of his immediate post resurrection ministry, he insisted disciples be baptized. This is for every generation of believers.
If you have never been baptized before, consider it. The blessings are endless. Depending on where you worship and hold church membership, you might be sprinkled with water or fully immersed in a church tank in a sanctuary, or find yourself getting dunked in a nearby river, swimming pool, or even hot tub, as friends and family and church members watch and sing.
Some churches require a series of preparatory classes. These sessions vary in length, intensity, and time, providing a valuable framework of spiritual formation for those considering baptism. Other communities of faith invite people to come forward for immediate baptism, as a public commitment of first time Christian faith, in response to the worship service and sermon. Certain denominations and faith traditions baptize children and infants, while others will only baptize adults.
I regret to say, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians sometimes experience frustration as they search for churches who will baptize them. However, be encouraged in your journey. The number of churches that will baptize you is growing. The Internet also can be a great blessing in identifying those welcoming churches in your area. If you have been refused baptism because of your sexual orientation, continue to trust God in your spiritual journey. Jesus understands your situation and walks with you.
Thank you, God, for Christian baptism and all that it signifies. Continue to open the doors of growing numbers of welcoming churches, which will be willing to baptize believers of all sexual orientations. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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