There was a comment in my pre-holiday “pass the mic” discussion post (in case you haven’t noticed, I’m loving these and will make them a regular thing on this newsletter). The discussion topic was on baptism and someone posed the question:
“Why baptize an infant who can't yet decide for himself? Why not administer baptism to an adult instead.”
I used to wonder the same thing. In fact, when our daughter was first born, this is what we planned to do with her... Wait for her to get a bit older and let her try church out. If she decides that she likes the whole Christianity thing, she can get baptized then.
But then the Lutherans taught me something... Here was the gist of my response to the (great) question:
“The way Lutherans see it, baptism isn't about us or our decisions/choices:) It's not about what we think or believe. It's not even about our faith. It's about God's faith for us. The power of baptism doesn't depend on our ability to receive it. God bestows faith, not us.”
Here’s what this means...
With God (unlike with fellow humans) the onus of our lovability isn’t on us.
This is a powerful way of seeing the divine order of things. It’s a paradigm shift - at least for me. God’s love is one-directional: from God to us. It is not our choice.
We are loved by God from our first breath to our last and beyond. It doesn’t matter what we choose or what religious faith - if any - we decide on. Baptism is merely a sacrament - a sacred symbol - of God’s incessant, untiring, undeserved, unmerited, unconditional, and unfailing love for us through the Word of Jesus Christ. In my Lutheran tradition, little babies are wrapped in the love of Christ and the Christian community before they can even wipe their own butt.
I just think that’s lovely.
Grace & Godspeed,