Discerning Baptism

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

We did a formal “Admission of Catechumens” this past Sunday for Laura, who plans to be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year. It is such a privilege to accompany these journeys: she is so excited about her relationship with Jesus and excited about making the sacramental commitment to Him and to the community of faith. We had to rework the liturgy a bit for Beverly, since she is still discerning whether baptism is a commitment she can, in good conscience, make, which made me reflect pretty deeply on the words I often say so lightly in these services.

It was, strangely enough, Ian’s sermon on the Baptism of our Lord that convinced Laura, on the one hand, that she really wanted to be baptized and Beverly, on the other, that she should approach the decision with great care. One of the points of the sermon is that baptism is a big deal, a life-changing--or better, a life-and-death choice--not to be taken lightly. Laura had already met Jesus during her time in South Africa and knows that she wants to walk with Him. Beverly is just beginning to encounter Him and doesn’t want to make a commitment that she doesn’t full understand or embrace.

So many of us who were raised in the church don’t have a sense of that urgency or of the fact that our discipleship is meant to be a life-and-death commitment. It’s folks like Laura and Beverly who remind us of how life-changing the Gospel can be.