Remembering one’s baptism is always an appropriate exercise during Lent. This panel in the chancel window is a striking image inviting us live the sacramental life. Jesus is depicted here with head bowed and arms folded, showing his acceptance of the divine will for his life. Reds and blues surround him. John the Baptist is dressed in green with the coat of camels hair plainly visible. The water of the Jordan river is visible at John’s feet, and the shell in his hand pours the precious water on Jesus’ head. The burst of light above shows the path the Spirit will take to rest upon the Son of God. Dark, deep blue is holding all of this window in the promise of the Father’s words,”You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.” Matthew and Luke record the words as, “This is my son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” But Mark puts on God’s lips this direct word to Jesus, “With you, I am well pleased.”
Baptism is, of course, a sacramental admission that we are sinners who stand in need of the washing of our sin, but baptism is also the sacrament that invites us to stand in a direct relationship to the One who created us, and we hear the voice, “With you, I am well pleased.” Rising out of the depths of the water we put death behind us, and live into our baptism. Baptism is a precious gift of God, given to us without price. In the United Methodist Baptismal Covenant we acknowledge that : “… through the Sacrament of Baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy church. We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the Spirit. All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.”
Today Garrett-Evangelical looks through this window and we give thanks for the gift of baptism in the words of A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
(From the The United Methodist Hymnal. # 607)
By Al Caldwell, Retired Faculty, editor