January and Baptism…January is winding down. The days often have been cold, wet, and dreary. Sometimes January nights seem long. And bad cases of the after-holidays "blahs" plague us in January. Still, we like January because it is a time when we can spread the whole calendar year in front of us. There are resolutions to make, commitments to be more engaged with friends and neighbors, and vows to live healthier lives. Have you done that? January is coming to an end.
For us church people, this is a good time to renew our pledges made at our own baptisms -- to love and care for one another, to listen for God's call and claim upon our lives, and to find new and more effective ways to love and serve God and neighbor.
In this chilly winter season, we have celebrated Baptism of the Lord Sunday, remembering the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. So, yes, it seems a beautiful time to reaffirm of our own baptismal covenant with God. In the service of baptism, one of the pivotal questions is this:
Question: Will you be Christ's faithful disciple, obeying his Word and showing his love?
Response: I will, with God's help.
In baptism, we acknowledge that we cannot be Christians all by ourselves. We depend not only on God but also on each other.
In the new calendar year, I like to imagine all people streaming to gyms, fitness centers and walking trails, ready to get their bodies in tiptop shape in the New Year. A separate but more spectacular vision is this: all people streaming to worship each week, to give thanks to God, to receive God's blessings, and to become spiritually fit, stretching and growing in faith and service. Yes, the first month is winding down now. But it is still the New Year. It is a good time to fill our calendars with many appointments with God and each other in the coming year.