He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ. –Ephesians 1:4-5
At 8:18am on Easter morning this year, Sarah and I received the most incredible gift. At Bryn Mawr Hospital, as the church began its first Easter service, our daughter Hadley Claire was born and changed our lives forever. As we have discovered, life would never be the same.
Now, seven months later, Hadley will be baptized this Sunday. Our families will be traveling from around the country to join us for this joyous occasion and to experience this sacrament. We feel very grateful to also be celebrating her baptism with the church family who has blessed us in so many ways. Being a pastor’s kid, it would seem fairly obvious why she would be getting baptized. But as a dad, this significant moment has led me to reconsider the question: Why are we are having our child baptized?
We are having our child baptized because in the waters of baptism, we are never the same. The water used in baptism symbolizes the Biblical accounts of the waters of creation, the flood in the story of Noah, and the Hebrews’ escape from slavery by crossing the Red Sea. When I give Hadley a bath at night and pour water over her head I think about the water that will be poured over her in baptism symbolizing the amazing goodness of God. As the water falls off her face she opens her eyes and smiles in only the way she can, as if to say, “Dad, I know how much God loves me!” Through the waters of baptism, we are made new and receive God’s grace before we can ever respond.
We are having our child baptized because as members of God’s family, we are never the same. Every morning when she wakes, Hadley greets us with that same joyful smile. Everyday when Sarah and I see her smile we say: “She is a beautiful child of God!” So it is most appropriate that this Sunday she will be received into the family of God through her baptism. In baptism, we are adopted into the covenant family of the Church. The church family also commits itself to nurture children in faith. As parents, Sarah and I have realized that we cannot raise Hadley in the Christian faith alone and so we are deeply grateful for the ways our church will play a role in her faith formation.
When we are baptized, we are never the same. While nothing about us visibly changes, the world around us is changed a little more – just as it was 2,000 years ago in a stable in Bethlehem when a child was born and became God in human form.