February 17, 2018 1 Peter 3:18-22
“And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” vs. 21
Noah’s ark was a favorite subject for the catacomb artists of the early church, even more popular than the now familiar pictures of Jesus on the cross. They liked the baptismal connections, the idea that water could bring salvation. They knew that what had happened in Jesus was a “once for all” occurrence and that it didn’t need to be repeated. Baptism became for them a point of engagement, that moment when we as individuals were connected to what had already taken place in Christ.
It really is an impressive ritual! Whether by immersion or pouring, the water serves as a powerful sign of cleansing and renewal. It reminds us that our sins have been washed away and that we have been raised up to live as new persons. Even more importantly it reeks of grace–especially when the one baptized is an infant. All that we receive from God in Christ is a gift–a completely one-sided covenantal promise. This doesn’t mean that someone who is not baptized is not loved by God. Such a notion is completely contrary to the gospel of grace that is at the core of the Sacrament…and a distortion of how God works in the world. What it does mean, is that every baptized person has a reason for daily celebration of cleansing and forgiveness–and it’s all by grace!
Thought for the Day: How do I celebrate baptism each day?