I'm part of a baptism tomorrow for a baby named after his paternal father and grandfather. Back where I come from anyone with a "III" after his name would be called 'Trey", which I'm hoping they won't do.
Baptism is something I try to explain in my sermon for a baptism.
I'm clear in my head and heart that God doesn't love someone 'better' once they are baptized. They are already a beloved child of God before the water is poured and the oil is smeared and the words are spoken.
Baptism isn't about God's love--it is about belonging to something larger than yourself.
In baptism you become a part of a family much larger and far reaching than your biological family.
You become a part of the "Christian Family" in all times and all places.
You are 'marked as Christ's own forever' as I'll say tomorrow smearing the oil of chrism in the sign of a cross on the baby's forehead.
That's what baptism is about--becoming part of the Christian community--past, present and yet unborn.
If I remember tomorrow (I seldom write down sermons these days) I'll remind people that when they come to the altar rail they should look to their left and imagine the rail stretching back 20 Centuries and seeing the Christians who came before us. And I'll invite them to look to the right and imagine the rail stretching out to infinity with all the Christians yet unborn kneeling with them.
That's what baptism is about--becoming part of a family and tradition, ancient and present and yet to be. A family and a tradition so large you can't begin to comprehend it.
The Communion of Saints--past, present and yet to be.
Pretty special, I think....
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