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Out of the Waters of Baptism

By Parker Jameson

We had just arrived back at my son and daughter-in-law’s house after the baptism of their first child at five months of age. On my mobile, I noticed messages from two of my cousins. Their mother, my mother’s only sister, my last surviving aunt of her generation, had died unexpectedly and peacefully the day before at the age of 97 years.

An hour earlier, in the waters of baptism, my grandson had died to the old life of humanity and been raised to new life in the Holy Spirit. Ninety-seven years earlier, my aunt had experienced that same death and resurrection, and a day earlier, she shed the last of her mortality and finished putting on the new life given her in the waters of baptism.

For her, the new life in Christ with which she had been clothed bore fruit in a life of service as teacher to generations of students, wife to two husbands, mother of six children. Her dying was a moment of “well done, good and faithful servant.”

My grandson’s life in Christ has only begun. We do not yet know the path on which he will be led or what fruit his life might bear.

Yet, in Christ, their lives are the same already. Because they belong to Christ, they already have everything necessary. In the waters of baptism, we die to self. We give up seeking life defined on our terms and in our image. We turn to new life defined by the love of God which embraces us.

From the experience of dying and being raised, from the experience of hearing the voice, “You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased,” from the experience of having the Spirit descend and rest upon us, our new life begins to unfold according to the direction of that same Spirit. We will never comprehend the complexities of the tapestry of creation and humanity which God is weaving.

By faith, we take our place in the weaving of God’s life, each adding our unique brightness and darkness and color to the whole.

We give thanks for the brightness and darkness and color my aunt added to that life. We wait in hopeful expectation of what my grandson will add.

Parker Jameson is the long time associate rector of St. Luke’s on the Lake, Austin, Texas, and adjunct faculty at Seminary of the Southwest.


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