Baptism and Easter: a match made in heaven, and on earth!
By Rev. Dr. Daniel Cochran
The ritual of baptism and the events of Holy Week are historically and theologically intertwined. The early Church baptized new Christians at night, during the Easter Vigil that took place between Good Friday and Easter Morning. The timing was a vivid reminder of Paul’s words in his letter to the Christians of Rome:
All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death…we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
We use water during baptism to symbolize the death of our old selves and our resurrection as new creations, as children of God, committed to walking in the way of Christ. These waters also remind us of God’s creative power throughout sacred history. The words we recite during baptism recall the many ways God has used water to create, save, and renew creation and God’s people:
When nothing existed but chaos, you swept across the dark waters and brought forth light. In the days of Noah you saved those on the ark through water…When you saw your people as slaves in Egypt, you led them to freedom through the sea…In the fullness of time you sent Jesus, nurtured in the water of a womb. He was baptized by John and anointed by your Spirit. He called his disciples to share in the baptism of his death and resurrection and to make disciples of all nations.
Join Grace Church this Lenten season as we explore God’s gift of water—the Water of Life (Revelation 22:1).
Beginning on March 10, the pastors will offer a sermon series that reflects on these scriptural stories and explores their meaning for our lives today. We encourage everyone to join us in reading Chris Webb’s beautiful and poignant book, God-Soaked Life. Webb writes that God’s Kingdom is not some distant, remote, or future promise. It is here among us, today! The waters of baptism are an invitation “into the community of God’s people; into fearless honesty about our own weaknesses and failures; into the daily experience of God through silence, scripture, and prayer; and into a new life of love and service in the broken world around us.”
The pastoral staff here at Grace UMC looks forward to walking, praying, and worshipping with you during this Lenten season—a season of reflection and repentance culminating on Easter morning with a celebration of the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s final conquest of sin and death and glorious affirmation of life and love!