A promise for life
You have made public profession of your faith. Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s support, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?
Response: I do, and I ask God to help and guide me.
Affirmation of baptism in the presence of a community of faith
Greetings my friends,
The above, or similar words were shared with all of us when we were either “confirmed” or whenever you might have affirmed your baptism as part of a worship celebration. Sometimes, I believe, it is good to be reminded of the promises that we have made to God.
To live among God’s faithful people. To be an active participant among the people God has shared with us as co-journeyers in our voyage of life in our pilgrimage within a community of faith. To offer our help, support, and affirmation to the people around us in our community of faith. To share our thoughts, opinions, and our resources to uplift God’s faithful people.
To hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper. To not only be physically present to actually “hear” Holy Scripture shared in worship, to not only be physically present to actually receive the Lord’s supper, but to open our ears, our hearts, our minds, to allow these gifts of life to actually influence and transform our lives.
To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed. To not only talk the talk of Christ on a Sunday morning at worship, but to allow our Christian belief to permeate every minute of every day. To realize that how we treat the cashier at our local grocery store, how we view the homeless person standing on the corner, how we think about and treat our sisters and brothers in Christ, all reveal how it is our life proclaims the good news of God through our words and deeds.
To serve all people. Not just to serve our own needs, the needs of our immediate family, the needs of the next-door neighbors who we like, but rather to open ourselves and our lives to attempt to serve all people. To realize that we are part of a much larger community network than we can possibly image, that our decisions may impact people’s lives in the middle East, the far East, the city-dwellers, and the farmers. We are all connected to one another and called to serve one another.
To strive for justice and peace in all the earth. To use the forums that God has provided to lift our voices in support of justice and peace. To publicly proclaim the injustices that we witness and to work together to bring about justice. To not speak in anger desiring vengeance. To not seek violence or war but rather to seek peace (Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2)
These are but a very limited amount of responses to each of the promises that we have made to our Lord. This promise was never intended to be a “once and done” promise, but rather a lifestyle that transforms our very life, our whole life, every day of our life, in service to God’s calling for each of us individually and communally.
Yes, we will fall short. Yes, there will be times when we falter and fail. Yes, there will be moments when we desire to throw our hands up in the air and simply “give up.”
Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!
For in all our shortcomings and failings, Christ offers forgiveness and promises to give us support to continue our way.
Sometimes my friends, a reminder like this is best heard in the presence of an assembly in the midst of a worship celebration; but sometimes, a reminder like this might be better heard when we can reflect in our own time and place to allow these words to actually influence and transform the whole of our life.
God calls us to dedicate our whole life to be lived in discipleship, not just our Sunday mornings but also our Friday nights. God, calls us to be “light” to the whole world (If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Luke 11:36), not just our immediate family, but for those whom we view as standing opposed to us.
May God’s promised blessings reside with us in all times and in all places:
“We give You thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit You give us new birth, cleanse us from our sin, and raise us to eternal life. Stir up in Your people the gift of Your Holy Spirit; the spirt of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in Your presence, both now and forever. Amen.”
Until next time,
Keep trusting God, washing those hands, and be at peace with one another.