"Remember your baptism and be thankful."
On the second Sunday of the year, it is customary for believers to symbolically remember their baptism as a way of re-committing ourselves to Christ. We'll hear the story once again of Jesus' baptism; he needed this, he said to John the Baptizer, "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). Jesus' baptism links us to him in a personal way through our own baptism. He became our brother through the waters of the Jordan River. Likewise, every baptized believer is a brother and sister to one another.
In the United Methodist Church, we do not practice re-baptism, or second baptism, or a believer's baptism. Believer's baptism is the idea that one must wait until she is ready to make a decision for Christ before they can be baptized. We believe baptism is a gift of God, something done as a response to God's prevenient grace. We do not choose baptism. We respond to God's action of loving us before we ever realized it. Re-baptism or second baptism is the idea that when one makes a new faith commitment he must re-start their relationship with Christ be being baptized again. But baptism is a gift of God, something we do not choose, so to do it a second time is impossible. God acts once in our lives through baptism. We can certainly re-start our commitment any time; even the Wesley brothers experienced moments of Christian renewal. Hence, the service of reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant.
You may have been baptized as a child and you don't remember. You parents and your home congregation made commitments on your behalf. You can symbolically remember. You may have been baptized as an adult in recent years, but need a new start. The congregation committed to support you in your Christian growth. You can symbolically remember. If you haven't been baptized, lets' talk about it and get you on the calendar! Grace UMC is ready to partner with you as you step in faith for the first time.
So come to the waters of memory this Sunday. Begin 2020 by remembering who you are, who you belong to, who your brothers and sisters are, and maybe most importantly, that you do not go through this journey alone. Remember your commitments to resist evil and injustice and serve as Christ's representative in the world. The great Christian reformer Martin Luther, when he was struggling with his faith, locked away in a prison, would say to himself over and over again: "I am baptized." "I am baptized." "I am baptized." "I am baptized." That truth kept him sane and gave him hope. So it is with each of us. We are baptized the fulfill all righteousness!