Baptism

Baptism

Today’s Scripture Selection: First Peter 3:21

“…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Christ Jesus.”

It may seem to be an odd combination.  One moment, Peter is talking about the great flood that destroyed everything, except for Noah and his family.  The next moment he is talking about the waters of baptism that save.

But think about it.  Isn’t that just what happens to us as we come to a saving faith in Christ?

Part of ourselves – our “old life” if you will – is ripped away from us.  We are “dead and buried” in the water – “dead in Christ” is how some would put it.  Then, suddenly, we are raised up out of the watery tomb to new life – “raised in Christ”.

Some experience that in an exciting, but relatively undramatic way: a child’s “rite of passage” in a way; just a normal part of growing up in a Christian home.

Others experience it far more dramatically: the addict finding not just physical recovery but spiritual life; the one who always railed angrily at God, coming in humble submission in those holy waters; the one who perhaps had always been “religious” but never really knew God intimately and personally – being washed and renewed – “born again.”

I think such scenes are every bit as dramatic as the flood that drove Noah and his family into the ark.

And I think even the quieter transition – with that lovely child and his or her parents and a smiling congregation watching on – is equally powerful and significant.

Baptism isn’t magic.  But it is a very, very beautiful – and powerful – thing.  And if you have never experienced it yourself I hope you will talk to someone soon about “taking that plunge” – spiritually speaking.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of baptism, and the new life it so wonderfully represents.  AMEN. 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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