As many of you know, we had a baptism last Sunday. It was beautiful and moving, as it always is when we are reminded that the one being baptized is loved and claimed by God. Little Jackson was perfectly adorable, behaving like the clean, well-rested, well-fed baby he is. I’ve baptized babies who screamed through the whole thing, children who played in the water of the font, and adults who were embarrassed by standing in front of people. Those baptisms weren’t as picture-perfect, but they were equally beautiful and moving. Our constant is God, whose love for us is constant, no matter how we are feeling or acting at the moment.
Good thing! The life of faith is a lot like those different baptisms. Sometimes we push back at God and Jesus and the church, and only come to faith kicking and screaming. Sometimes we are embarrassed by what faith asks of us, and want to shrink back into our comfort zones rather than share good news as Jesus commands. Sometimes we are playful, and question the things we have been told are sacred. And sometimes we simply relax into the arms of our shepherd, trusting that we will be provided for in whatever ways we need.
God is more patient with us than we deserve. That’s why we speak of grace. Frederick Buechner had this to say about grace:
A crucial eccentricity of the Christian faith is the assertion that people are saved by grace. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do. There’s nothing you have to do.
The grace of God means something like: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are, because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you.”
There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.
I invite you to remember that you are baptized and to give thanks that you are marked by the amazing grace of God.
Grace and peace,