One sure sign that we are growing as a church is how often we sing St. Patrick’s Breastplate. By God’s grace, we have sung it quite a few times this year. It is Providence’s chosen hymn for baptisms and adding new members. The hymn begins with these words: “I Bind Unto Myself Today the Strong Name of the Trinity…by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.
As we are about to exercise this ancient biblical practice, we must affirm that this baptism is Trinitarian Baptism. Bengt and Hannah Anderson are being incorporated into a Trinitarian community. They are not coming because they first loved God, but because the Triune God has first loved them. They are being claimed and marked by the God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them (Mat. 19:14) and the pouring of the water over them, like Pentecost, is a sure sign that they are called into a new family; a family that embraces a new mission. As Samson was set aside from the womb to serve Yahweh, so too, these little ones are consecrated for the service of their God from this day forward. How will this manifest itself: By God’s grace, through honoring their parents, their pastors, and most importantly, their Lord.
The baptized life is a life of faith and repentance; a life of boldness and interest in the glory of Christ and of his kingdom. In baptism, Bengt and Hannah have Christ with them, within them, before them, beside them, beneath them, above them, in quiet, and in danger; in baptism they will always be reminded that God has marked them with His presence, and that they are never to depart from Him.
Today, the blood of circumcision is no longer needed: Christ was cut off for us when he died on the cross; the waters of baptism, however, reveal to us that Christ is the living water of life unto you and your children to a thousand generations.