By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 6, ‘they were baptized by him’
Since we are confessing, I like my routine—my daily rituals. These little actions—a cup of coffee, a tussle with my dogs, a fingered rosary on the drive to work—give me a sense of the order of things. They bring meaning amid the busy-ness of my life. At their best, these little rituals have a way of calling me back to myself, to the things I value, of reconnecting me with my heart. In the same way, the repentance for which John calls demands a ritual, a way of embodying in an action the conversion of heart and life for which we long. Baptism is just such an action. This sacred washing is a full body reminder that God can and will cleanse us of all the ways that sin and fear mark us. By grace, we are transformed, even though we have reached the end of ourselves and discovered—liberatingly—that we cannot transform ourselves. Baptism is, of course, far more than ritual; the very change it promises, it creates. It is a pledge, in the here and now, in life-giving water, that I and all I long to be, belong to God and God’s people, and that together we will work toward the Advent world that God has willed from the beginning.
Prayer God of grace, call me back to myself, and to you, at every sign of water.