Since the start of my ministry, I have collected pictures with the people I have baptized. I was inspired by a doctor who had a wall full of pictures of children he had delivered over the years. I made the mistake of not writing the names of the children on the back of the photo and so now when I look at the pictures, I’m not sure who I’m holding except for knowing that each is a beloved child of God.
I do, however, remember my kid’s baptisms and certain details about each. Isaac was baptized in the Chapel at Wartburg Seminary. He was naked and immersed into the font up to his neck. Evelyn was baptized on Easter Sunday and she was baptized with a gentleman in his 70’s. It was a great reminder that we can become children of God at any age. Elijah has special Godparents who keep in touch every year even though we live a long ways apart.
Jesus’ baptism has significance for a number of reasons. The heavens opened a dove descended and God spoke; that’s pretty amazing. But these were also verses that we practiced and translated and reflected on and were tested on during Summer Greek. Our professor loved and scripture where God spoke because he would have us all cup our hands together around our mouths, speak in a loud voice and read in Greek as if this reflected how God would speak.
The amazing thing about each of our baptisms is that this is God’s command, God’s promise on our lives. God claims us as beloved children and we are marked with the cross of Christ forever. Luther writes in the Small Catechism, “Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead, it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s word.”
Whether you know your baptismal story or not, you need not doubt God’s claim on you. May we all live into our identity as children of God.