We were privileged to witness a baptism this morning -- a simple ceremony -- prayer, some questions, the baptism, and more prayer -- no celebrating the subject of the baptism, no applause (Thank You, Lord!), no hubbub. A simple reminder of the promises God gives to parents of children in His Church and the sign and seal applied.
As always, witnessing a baptism (attendant folderol or not) made me think of my own, as well as my children's baptisms. Something I should do more frequently, I confess. Which is what we're supposed to do when we see it administered -- as well as at other times -- to improve our baptism. It's a concept foreign to American Evangelicalism (whatever that means), but not that long ago, it was the aim of Protestants.
Now, I admit is crossing confessional streams (with apologies to Dr. Egon Spengler), for me but the tool I use to help me meditate on baptism is from the Westminster Larger Catechism.
Q. 167. How is our Baptism to be improved by us?
A. The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others, by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of the Baptism and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that Sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.
By the grace of God, my baptism has been slightly improved today -- with plenty of room for further. But today's a little better than yesterday.
S. D. G.