Baptism: For the Joy Set Before Us

So, we have a first this Sunday at St. Patrick, we are baptizing a bunch of babies and an older young man who is making a profession of faith. It is a first because we have so many babies that we can’t schedule them all on separate Sundays. I will confess to you the sentimental part of me hates this, especially since my little girl is one of many and doesn’t get to just stand out in all her glory on her baptismal day. But baptism isn’t really about that, is it? It is so much larger than that and yet strangely enough, I suppose the only one who will remember this day or the fact his pastor drenched him in water is our young man who is saying publicly, “Jesus is my King.” Matter of fact, not only will the infants never remember this day, they might even be downright irritated that a man in a big black robe would subject them to a bath when they are festooned in their best outfits and not properly naked.  They might be even more offended when they look to their parents for relief and protection and their parents are beaming as if what is happening to them is the greatest thing in the world.
As mundane as this sounds and as peculiar as it appears, what is happening in the baptism of our children—believer or infant—leaves me gasping in awe and overcome with amazement at the strange ways of God, when I can see them for what they really are.  The eternal God who spoke worlds into existence and (looked at in that light) is power personified, has chosen to throw down empires and raise up new ones with a few drops of water! We properly stand in awe at the power of the hurricane, storm, or latest and greatest armament capable of leveling city blocks; but what of a God who chooses to work through weakness—the weakness of water? A God who, through love and not power, continually rewrites history?
So again we come in awe, wonder, and great faith and trust that God will do as he says and use the meager and mundane things like water, word, bread, wine, and people to renew the world and to reweave the broken threads around us. Again we will ask God to knock us in the head so that with eyes of faith we can see—really see—that for the joy set before him, Jesus went to the cross to make us and our children his special people. Glory!