“It is a lot like birth.” I made that statement during Sunday’s sermon from within the baptismal pool. When we come up out of the waters of baptism we hold a look of shock and confusion. Fluid is in our noses, eyes, mouths and ears. Our faces are scrunched and red. We are in someone else’s hands. It really is a lot like birth: messy and mysterious; awkward and beautiful; strange and wonderful.
Why do we engage in such an admittedly bizarre act? The Bible consistently proclaims that to become a disciple is to become a new creation, to be born anew. Our old selves died within the watery grave of baptism. New selves emerge in resurrection. This is all symbol, of course. There is no magic in the water. We do not physically become someone else. We still have the same social security number. Yet it is a symbol so filled with power and purpose that it truly means something. It points to an inward transformation that happened not in the water, but within our minds.
I encourage you to remember your baptism today as we rejoice with our new brother and our new sister, born in the waters of baptism this past Sunday.