Matthew 28:19-20 - (Jesus said) "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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
The choir in our little church sits on metal chairs in the front of the congregation and somewhat behind the altar and the pulpit. This gives choir members a point of view unavailable to others in the congregation.
We can watch the pastor from behind as he preaches, conducts the liturgy, etc. We can watch the organist intent upon her playing. We can watch the people in the congregation, singling out individuals for special observation.
This can all be quite interesting, but I hasten to add, it is not a regular idle pastime. As I watch I sometimes wonder: "Why doesn't he sing along this morning?" "Why doesn't she rise with the rest of the congregation?" "Why does that woman with the long braid sing that hymn with such vigor?" One family's child is absent. "Is there illness? I should speak to them after the service."
And so the process goes—knowing full well that some members of the congregation are very likely thinking similar thoughts and making similar observations about me: the choir member.
One Sunday, not long ago, we had a Baptism. The baby was brought to the baptismal font by the young parents and a young couple, the sponsors. It was a brief event, and the baby slept undisturbed. The Baptism was ordinary, except for the moment when water was applied to the baby's head. At this act, the mother shifted so she could see. It was a decisive move—so much so that she gently nudged her husband aside.
Then, as the water was applied to the baby's head and the familiar words were spoken, the mother smiled and silently mouthed the words, "My baby."
It was a joyful moment and an emotionally filled one for those of us who could witness the woman. Here was a young mother who knew what the rebirth of Baptism meant for her child, and she wanted to be as close as possible to this great event in the life of her baby. It was a delight to watch this quiet little drama unfold.
It seemed the magnificence of the Sacrament was summarized and visualized in this quiet, unassuming moment. It reminded me of how much is involved in this holy work. The apostle Paul said it well in his letter to the Romans: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).
Thanks be to God who is making all things new!
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Baptism and the gift of faith. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, November 1978 issue, "A Quiet View of Great Moments," by Jon Suel
1. Have you ever witnessed a ritual or ceremony you didn't understand?
2. Why is baptizing all nations part of Jesus' worldwide command?
3. Do you acknowledge or celebrate your Baptism in any particular way?
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