*This is the sixth installment of theological conversation between my intern Christian Parks and I.
C: Early in this journey I had the opportunity to witness you baptize your youngest twins, Madeleine and Lucas. As a Baptist preacher, why infant baptism?
J: I believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God. I baptize my children as an outward sign of an inward grace. An inward grace that comes by being created in the image of God…such grace continues to flow through the veins of Jesus and down into the baptismal waters. I don’t believe that the love of God expressed through Jesus will ever let Madeleine and Lucas go. Since they cannot reject God, I feel no need to wait on them to make any decision. The love of God will never leave them. Baptism is about belonging to God and each other. Can you unpack this idea of belonging?
C: I remember in the Gospels when Jesus was preparing for the Sabbath meal he was stopped and made aware that his mother was at the door waiting for him. Jesus responded by declaring to all present that they are his mother, father and brothers. Each and every person gathered at the table had a claim to being a part of God’s family. No one greater than another and no one left out. This is the great symbol of Baptism that love meets us where we are, as we are and beckons us into the family. We are reminded that love reaches even us as the waters of grace washes us clean and makes us anew. What is the power of Baptism today?
J: Baptism is an outward sign of cleansing. When we baptize children, we are expressing a hope that our past sins might be cleansed from the child as we connect them to Christ. When we baptize adults, the individual is expressing a hope that their sins might be forgiven as they connect to Christ. Baptism might be the greatest moment of eschatological hope we practice. I think we keep the waters stirred because we know that our salvation lies in the cleansing. Baptism is about hope and hope will always be as powerful today as it was yesterday. Would you agree Brother Christian?
C: Yes, our hope lies in our constant willingness to be cleansed by love. Baptism reminds us that love truly has the power to make all things new.
J: Let hope reign.