Reading time: two minutes.
I’m learning so much from the wisdom that you have shared with me in recent months that I’m dedicating the next eight weeks of blogs to you and the conversations we’ve shared.
When I ask you, “What do you do to remember your baptism,” I hear all kinds of things about how raindrops and rainbows and water fountains and showers and a cross in the pocket can serve of reminders of baptismal grace.
One idea I heard has really stuck with me. A pastor told me that now when he makes the sign of the cross, he remembers the words spoken at his own baptism, “Receive the sign of the holy cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one redeemed by Christ the crucified” as he makes two small crosses once again on his forehead and on his heart. I like it!Baptizing infants is a display of our complete and absolute dependence on the grace of God. Those of us baptized very early in life claim no credit for any part in the gift of faith and the promise of God’s unending love.
I don’t remember my own baptism, but my sponsors, Uncle Verne and Aunt Gladys, reminded me of it often. When I make the sign of the cross on my own forehead and heart, I like to think of the words Pastor Maier spoke to me in 1955.
I sometimes imagine him emphasizing the words, “the holy cross.” It transports me back to that sacred place where Jesus shed His blood for me, that sacred place where my old sinful nature was drowned and died with him, where I was buried with him. I takes me to the empty tomb, where I was raised with Him to new life. In my moments of anxiety, it returns me to the power of the cross.
Or I imagine Pastor Maier putting more emphasis on the words “to mark you as one redeemed.” I need that assurance every day. God’s outpouring of the Spirit and of faith was for me. It was personal, individual, for Darrell, and no one can take that a way from me.
In the moments of my day I need that comfort of God’s presence, that personal blessing upon me is a wonderful gift.
When I cross my forehead and my heart, I marvel in the way that the gospel fills my mind with answers to “all of life’s persistent questions” (thanks Mr. Keillor), but also fills my heart with the peace and warmth of the comfort and care God gives me in that very moment.
Baptismal wellness is the moment by moment guarantee and promise that God’s mercy on me is real and true. A simple, tiny sign of the cross on my forehead and heart transforms me back to that joyous day at Good Shepherd Lutheran when the Lord’s grace came to me, and reminds me that all of His promises still hold, all these years later.
I hope you revel in that peace every day also.
Thanks for reading.
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