Baptism by water
Today we reflect on our baptism by water. It is symbolic that water is used for the sacrament by which we become part of the Christian family. Try to find a picture of your own baptism or reflect on a picture of one of your children or family’s baptism.
Water frames the Biblical story. The first book, Genesis, starts with a wonderful poetic image of water and Creation.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1)
Before creation even took place, the waters were there. Water is a primal element giving birth to life. It is no wonder that when a child is born the waters break to symbolize the start of the journey – a new life coming into the world.
And in our faith journey we are baptized by water as infants. But when we reflect on Jesus’ calling and baptism, he was baptized at the age of 30. (Matthew 3:13-17). So is there a further symbolic or spiritual “baptism” that needs to happen when we are adults?
16 And when Jesus was baptized, He came up immediately out of the water. And suddenly the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove. 17 And a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
This baptism is the moment of calling, the moment when you “get it “– you get your life’s purpose – when you get what you were created for. Many people go through life and they are on ‘cruise control’, study, pay off student loans, get married, pay your mortgage, have children, pay school fees.
They never have that ‘ahah’ moment, that moment of initiation when you say “ this is what I am here for, this is my life’s purpose”. How do we know what God is calling us to do, when the problems and needs are so huge? A simple way to explore your calling – what God wants to baptize you into – is to ask yourself this question :
“What breaks your heart?” For if you put your passion, time, love and resources into combatting what breaks your heart – then you are baptized into your calling. Often we follow other people’s callings because we feel guilty. But each person has their own calling.
Some are passionate about climate change, others about the preservation of endangered species, one wants to recycle, another wants to grow vegetables. We are all called to be missioners of the Fifth mark of mission “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
Identify what breaks your heart and you will find your purpose, you will identify what kind of missioner of the fifth mark of mission you are being called to be and you will be spiritually initiated and “baptized” into your calling.
And God will say “With you, I am well pleased”
Adapted from Richard Rohr