“Before I can remember the covenant was sealed with Father, Son and Spirit, in water was revealed. The cleansing was for certain, with water and the Word; gentle words were spoken, in heaven they were heard.”—ELW 457 v.1
The month of May ended with two baptisms; one for a newborn baby boy and one for an 8 year old boy. They were both similar in that the promise received was the same. Each through those baptismal waters became children of God. Micah’s parents made those promises for him as my parents did for me, but Kenny got to answer for himself. He got to speak his desire to be baptized.
This gets me thinking about how it is that we live our lives as baptized people, as God’s children. For 6 weeks, our primary reading on Sunday morning will be all or part of a Psalm. What I love about the Psalms is that as a collection of songs, they represent the whole range of human emotion and they allow us to express that emotion to God, to the one who has claimed us. This to me is so important in our lives of faith. The truth is that we can feel a full range of emotions towards God as we have probably felt a full range of emotions toward our human parents. God can hear our joy, our cries of hurt, our anger, our pleading, our sighing, and our peace. But none of these emotions, this range of feeling, can separate us from God’s love.
Of all the promises made in Baptism, the one missing promise (that some are convinced is there) is that everything will be easier. As God’s children, we still live, we still breathe, we still die. But in those storied waters, we are joined to Christ in his own death. And even though we don’t say these words at Baptism, we say them at a funeral about baptism and they come from Romans 6:5: “For if we have been united to him (Christ) in a death like his, we will certainly be united to him in a resurrection like his.” In baptism, we receive the promise that God is with us. I like to turn that unhelpful saying around like this, “When life gives us more that we can handle, God does not abandon us, God holds us close.”
We rejoice with Micah and Kenny as they have become members of God’s family and workers with us on this journey. And we look forward to hearing proclamation on the Psalms over the next several weeks. May we know that God loves us fiercely and that God can handle the emotions that we experience in this life. In Psalm 3:3, which is attributed to King David, when David is on the run and those with him doubt that God is still on his side, this is written, “But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.”