Hmmm…where were we? Oh yes, baptism.
Least respected…Have you been to a baptism lately? The last one I went to-not performed, went to as one of the congregation-was at a Mass. It was comparable to going to a football game. People were standing on the pews, eating and picnicking as if they were in the stands. People were actually “climbing” over the priest to take pictures as he was trying to administer the Sacrament! Sounds pretty bad huh? I don’t even want to get into the “after” parties. What happened? First let’s discuss the place. A church is a holy place. It does not have to be a church to make it holy. Any place where God’s presence is makes it holy. Remember Moses and the burning bush? What did God tell him? “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground”. (Exodus 3:5.) It’s not just places either; it could be angels, people, and objects. Any being, or thing used in God’s presence to worship Him or be used by Him becomes holy. Check this out, in the Book of Joshua it is written that he is standing next to Jericho the day before Israel attacks it. He confronts a man standing before him with a drawn sword. The “man” identifies himself as the commander of the army of the Lord. He tells Joshua, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” All through the old and new testaments of the Bible this is evident. Hey, makes for great summer reading. Look, when I do a baptism I let everyone know that the place they are in is holy. It’s God’s house, He makes it holy. But even though it’s sacred, it’s a place of refuge for His children. It is a place to relax, reflect, and be comfortable and be still in. Although it is His house, it is also ours, and He wants us to be at home. “Our” home is in His presence. Hmmm…you’re probably thinking, “Deacon Phil has finally gone off the deep end, what a shame”. Well you could be partly right, but bear with me. Being in God’s presence is joyful. We don’t have to have serious, dour faces on. Jesus constantly compares being in God’s presence (Heaven) to a wedding. What do you do at a wedding (other than over eating and drinking)? You’re happy, you’re dancing, eating and drinking, there’s music and laughter…people there’s…JOY! Everything during that baptism becomes holy, especially the children. Nothing there is blessed or done by the priest or deacon. It is all God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit who are invoked upon to bless the water and in turn the children. Amen.
Until next time…may Jesus keep you smiling, may God’s grace shine on you and always pray for our newly baptized!