by Talitha Greaver, English & English Education, 2020
And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. – Mark 1:10
This year, I attended the Christmas service at the prison in my hometown, since my mom leads the services. One of the members had asked if he could be baptized and Mom had agreed. During the last song, the to-be-baptized man entered, wheeling a giant canvas laundry cart, profusely leaking. It was not the most conventional baptism.
Watching this laundry cart baptism redefined baptism for me. Whatever our baptisms looked like doesn’t really matter. The symbol that holds all baptisms together is water. It’s life-giving, but also deadly. It reminds us that part of salvation, part of rebirth, is death. Water is cleansing and renewing. It’s universal. It’s pure. It’s also what was used in Jesus’s own baptism, connecting us directly to His sacrificial death upon the cross. He had no sins of his own, yet He was willing to die so that our sins could be put to death with Him on the cross.
Dear God, help us to be reminded today of our baptism. Thank you for sending your Son to die for our sins, that we may be baptized into eternal life. Amen.