Monday, January 11, 2010

Baptismal Reflection

Yesterday in church, I glanced at the bulletin header to see the following words:

The First Sunday After The Epiphany
The Baptism of Our Lord
Holy Eucharist: Rite II January 10, 2010

Three things popped into my mind after reading those words -

1. Our visit last fall to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome where we viewed the beautiful portrait I'm showing here today of Jesus' baptism.

2. My baptism. Having just discovered my own baptism certificate last November, I hesitated yesterday when I stood in church to celebrate my baptism, naming only the month. Coming home though, I confirmed as I suspected, my actual infant baptism (age 6 weeks) was January 10 so my savoring of this day's importance seemed even more relevant to me.

3. The word savor. As regular readers here at the MindSieve might remember, savor is my selected word for this year.

In remembering our visit to St. Peter's and in rejoicing over a found baptismal certificate, I savored the precious moments and import of those events in my life. It's unlikely at this point in my life that I'll revisit St. Peter's in Rome, but what a memorable occasion it was to be there with my beloved spouse viewing the portrait of such an important event in the history of Christianity.

Also, finding bits and pieces of my infancy, early childhood, and school years seems to be a trend that begins to bring into focus how that baptism event of being publicly declared a Child of God was the beginning of a life long relationship that as an infant I had no idea was there for me. Even as a young child, a teen, a young mother - really not until my adult years of church life did the import of baptism register with me. It is only now that I've come to treasure the God/human relationship that was started on my behalf by my very young parents. I doubt they knew what they were "doing" with a tiny baby at God's altar but I am thankful for that event and pray that young parents, like mine, like I did as a parent, will baptize their children realizing it not as just a social rite of passing but a spiritual proclamation of intention for them and for their children.

If you're a Christian, what of your baptism - infant, teen or adult, have you ever spent any time considering how that event changed, did not change, is beginning to change your life? And if you're of another faith with a precious rite meant for initiation or acceptance or connection, have you participated fully in that rite or not, and has it changed your life, your direction, your spirituality? I welcome your sharing.


  1. Yesterday, Day 4 of a Spirituality & Practice e-course I'm taking focused on taking a vow and the importance of doing so before others. As I wrote about my reflections on this, I recalled the power (in the sense of being deeply moved) of standing before our bishop and being baptized at age 50 (I had not been baptized in infancy). What came back to me was that voice as one, hearing the community in that tiny Episcopal parish repeat after each of our priest's questions, "I will. . . ." Then, later that same year, I was married and again those same words were entered by the community present with me and my husband.

    Reading your post this morning, your words "acceptance", "connection", "intention" strengthen my vow to lean when I need to, because others are there as He is there. Always.

    Thank you.

  2. Anonymous8:21 AM

    We are blessed with holy moments! I rejoice with you that you received the "holy" in the circumstances surrounding you on Sunday. How often are they given and we don't see? It is so beautiful to realize that our baptisms were gifts from our parents or others. If we were baptized as infants, we didn't initiate anything....That gift affects our whole lives whether we are aware or not! Love your thoughts and sharings! JG

  3. Dear Maureen, I am quite moved by your response to this post. Infant baptism I believe so important but adult baptism with all the commitment the sacrament brings to an age of conscious commitment is truly a blessing. I agree that when I speak the words as a congregant, "I will" I am surprised each time at the profound responsibility I feel of my own baptism as a member of God's family. Thank you again.


  4. JG - thank you so much for reading here today. I rather twisted your arm yesterday but I wanted you to know how powerfully moved I was in the recitation of baptism vows yesterday and in the joy I found when realizing that January 10 was the exact anniversary of my infant baptism. Thank you!


  5. i am savoring the continued synchronicity of these important events in your life. they, thus, become important to me. i recall being about 12 years old and making the commitment for myself (although it felt about like middle school peer pressure, too). i will need to ponder this more as i consider my year of "water."

    right now when i think of baptism, i think of an incredibly sacred moment in ireland when i was washed (and drenched) by the wonderful pouring rain. it felt much more meaningful and baptismal than the little dribble at age 12.


  6. Lucy, I have just been in total awe of the feelings I've had regarding the baptism celebration - something as seemingly trivial as finding an "old piece of paper" has moved me again and again in regard to what baptism means to me. I did NOT but I wanted to tell several people today - guess what - yesterday was my baptism anniversary! Truly a birthday feeling. And the Irish baptism of rain as a young adult woman of a certain age could certainly be more meaningful than a child of 12 stepping into a mystery of which they probably will know nothing about until they are "of a certain age" - waaaaay beyond 12. Thanks for your reply. See you soon!

  7. I have mixed feelings about infant baptism. I was baptized as an infant, and it bugs me that I can't go get it done again now that I'm a conscious adult. It really seems to me that baptism should be a deliberate choice, even though that's not what my denomination goes by.

    On the other hand, there's something very tender and wonderful about infant baptism, and I've had my children baptized as babies, but it seems like it's more for the parents and the congregation than for the baby.

  8. baptism.... always remember me that i am a daughter of God!!! and i belong to Jesus!!