January 29, 2011

Shared Memories

Romans 6:1-14

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that … we too may live a new life.
Romans 6:4


If you were baptized as an infant, you wouldn’t remember the event. That’s okay. Every time we witness someone else’s baptism, we can be reminded of our own.

The apostle Paul says baptism reminds us that we’ve been flooded with Christ. In this flood, our sinful self is crucified and buried. Our righteous self is raised to new life. This is how we see ourselves in the world, as a community that remembers we are dying and living with Jesus. It shapes our reaction to temptations and to the challenges of love.

What is disturbing is how some people lose sight of remembering this resurrection grace. They forget they were lost apart from the Savior. They never take note of God’s amazing grace or show enthusiasm for new life welling up in their souls. They remember baptism as an emblem of family pride and formal membership in a particular church. But that robs baptism of its deep truth, and it keeps baptism from being the momentous event that gives shape and form to Christian identity and discipleship.

Many of the earliest Christians celebrated the day of their baptism as their birthday. They also started the practice of being buried near one another on the same plot of ground because even in their “sleep” they wanted to be a community together. God’s grace was the power shaping their common road from death to life.

Father, I’m amazed at my redemption, for my heart tends to wander. Remind me that Christ lives in me forever. Amen.

About the author — Norm Prenger

Rev. Norm Prenger is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Alberta and British Columbia before he was disabled by a heart attack and a post-operative stroke. He now lives with his wife, Gwen, near Thunder Bay, Ontario. He enjoys fishing, writing, drumming, and encouraging his fishing partners and neighbors to follow Jesus.

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