9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:9-11
And so we come to the last day of Christmas and therefore the last set of readings, thoughts, prayers and actions in the #adventbookclub. I will, I think, have one final post to come to sum up what I thought, what I got out of it, and what I think I have to learn from the whole process.
So, this post is the same as any other. What does Nouwen have to say today? He thinks on the Baptism of Christ. His visit to Lourdes where he bathes in the waters and prays before a statue of Mary. He understands that water is part of life itself, saving everyone – the Israelites being led through the Red Sea; Jesus baptised in the Jordan; our own baptism.
So. Baptism. Last February seems a long time ago, looking at the picture above from Ben’s Baptism. It’s only been ten months. In that time he has grown in every way. Taller. Heavier. Cleverer. Stronger. Nimbler. Abler in every way. Would this have happened if he wasn’t baptised? Yes. Does that make baptism a waste of time? No. Should we have waited until he was old enough to understand or even to decide for himself? No – though I respect those who have different views. It is the grounding of life. It is the start of a very long journey which will hopefully last his whole life through. It is a sign by us, as his parents, that he belongs to God’s family – and that we want him to belong. It is a commitment by us, and by his godparents, to bring him up to have faith, to be good, to be kind, to do right. It is a commitment from our church to support him and us with our own commitments. It is the right thing to do.
I’ve just got to the final Advent Action in the book. To take today to honour our own baptism. I guess we all try to do that each day. I’ve not done anything specific to honour my own baptism. I hope that the words above remembering Ben’s baptism will do. So, my prayer for today is from the baptism service in Common Worship:
Heavenly Father, by the power of your Holy Spirit you give your faithful people new life in the water of baptism. Guide and strengthen us by the same Spirit, that we who are born again may serve you in faith and love, and grow into the full stature of your Son, Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit now and for ever. Amen.
And, as it’ll be Epiphany by the time this is posted, I think I can be indulged with this: