Yesterday, Episcopal and many other churches celebrated the baptism of Jesus. In TEC, the First Sunday After Epiphany is one of the preferred dates for baptisms to be celebrated on. When we remember Jesus’ baptism, it can also help remind the rest of us of the importance of living a Christian life as baptized people.
I’ve often thought of the bit of irony that at least two clergy I know have written about regarding the dismissal given at the end of the service. When the deacon or priest says “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” (or some variation), the congregation’s response is “Thanks be to God.”
Are we thanking God that the Mass is over, or are we thanking God that we’re being sent out in faithful service? I’m inclined to think that early liturgists probably had the latter in mind. Likewise, baptism services, which usually happen in the context of a Sunday service, are a sending forth. No matter whether the baptized will be affirming their faith at a later age, or whether they’re being baptized after having accepted Christ, the baptism service helps remind all of us of the responsibility we have as Christians.
How are we handling our responsibility as baptized members of Christ’s Body?