When a teen walked past me in downtown Davis with a Fjallraven (Fiallravn) patch on her backpack, I thought of baptism. Fjallraven is a status symbol, and baptism is a status symbol. But baptism is not a mark of brand-consciousness or wealth or popularity. It’s a symbol that marks our status in relation to the God of the universe.
Baptism says, “because of your faith in Jesus and what Jesus has done for you, your status is no longer only as a person in your family of origin, or in your foster family, or in your adopted family, or in your workplace or neighborhood. You are now blessed and marked as a person who is welcomed into God’s world-wide family and empowered by God Himself to bless everyone around you.” Now that’s a status symbol I want to have!
Baptism is a symbol. Going under the water symbolizes God purifying you from sin, which is accomplished through Jesus’ death on a cross. Coming up out of the water symbolizes God raising you to new life, similar to how Jesus was raised to resurrected life and now shares this life with everyone who places their faith in him. It is because of God’s reckless love for you that Jesus died and rose again, and baptism is our way of symbolizing our status with this God of love.
And while baptism is a physical mark of a spiritual status that began when you first placed your faith in Christ, baptism is not “only” a symbol. Just as the Holy Spirit is at work when you become a Christian, and when you read the Bible, and in so many other ways in our lives, the Holy Spirit is at work when you are baptized. The creation account in Genesis 1 highlights that the Holy Spirit hovered over the chaos waters and brought forth new creation. The waters of baptism reflect this Genesis 1 imagery, and the Holy Spirit is present at your baptism doing new creation work in you too!
If you have the status of a person who is loved by God, forgiven by God, saved by God, blessed by God, and empowered by God, but you have not been baptized before, then I invite you to mark that status and let's celebrate together!
Interested? Got questions? We have baptisms a couple times a year with interest meetings before then where we talk more about what baptism is and answer your questions. Or, email me or any of the pastors for more info: we'd love to hear from you!
Because Jesus changes our status, Neil Redenbaugh - Adult and Family Pastor