The Bible is a sacramental book. It is filled with strange occurrences to be sure; but it is also filled with the common. The Bible speaks about hair, love, axes, sickness, marriage, and wine. The Bible is anti-gnostic. And if you do not like Gnosticism you will love the Bible. The Bible brings together the miracle and the means; the divine and our dependence; the water and the wanderer.
The Bible is filled with holy images. The temple was holy; the city was holy; the sacrifices were holy; the body is holy. But images are just not accidental pictures, they represent a reality. Not a forthcoming reality, but a present reality. This is why what is happening here this morning is of such magnitude. When these four little ones are baptized, they taste that reality each and every day. Their baptisms guide, shape, and identify them. If you go to the Middle East and ask a Muslim to identify a Christian their response is to point you to one who has been baptized in the Name of the Triune God. Baptism is the universal language of cleansing. Naaman understood this when he finally followed the word of the Lord. The eunuch understood this when he responded to the Word of the Lord. We are baptized because this is how we are identified with our Lord. Baptism is our spiritual photograph and identity card. When someone asks you who you are, your response is: “I am a baptized Christian.”
In this covenantal sign these children are brought into the membership of Christ’s Church. They are bound by a sign to live faithfully all their days. And if they should—God-forbid—abandon this faith, we—as the church—have the duty to call them back to their baptismal commitment.
Children: to be baptized is to love Jesus sincerely; to honor him daily, and to follow him all your days. This promise is for you! Cherish, remember, and live it!
Eric and Lisa, God has blessed you with quadruple joy; but as you know, this also means quadruple responsibility. Our prayer is that the God who washes his people and who purifies them may refresh your energy daily to fulfill your calling. Train them up in the way that they should go and by God’s grace they will not depart from it.