Acts 2:38 (ESV)
And Peter said to [the crowd], “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Have you been baptized?
In the day of Peter’s pronouncement baptism was not taken lightly. To openly declare oneself a believer in and a follower of Jesus as the Christ, and a vast multitude did so on that day, set up oneself for the wrath of the Temple and the ridicule of friends and neighbors. That said, baptism marks the beginning of an entirely new life, then and now. The newly baptized enter into a new life of unity with fellow Christians, physically being a part of the Christian community. But, look at us now! We have been forced to live apart from each other, our churches are closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As time goes by, it seems that this is our lot to live apart for as long as it takes to get through this pandemic. What might this be doing to the Christian church? Some pastor’s, like me, are becoming adept at leading online worship, perhaps, much to our undoing. Out of necessity, broadcasting over the Internet encourages our congregations to join us on Sunday morning in their pajamas! For real! I get notes affirming the appeal of this new relaxed approach to church. You see what may be happening? We Christians may be slowly coming to pieces and embracing it as an entirely new and comfortable life. In the face of tragedy, where early Christians huddled together for safety from persecution, in contrast, we are fleeing each other to survive a pandemic. And we need to in these days. The sacrament of baptism may lose its significance in church. Have you been baptized? A question I have asked numbers of people wanting to be a part of the church. But now, they may ask, Why? To sit alone at home? My answer: By baptism we belong to Christ; therefore, we belong to each other, the perfect unity. It is this unity that will help us get through this tragedy, too.
“Baptism is the initial step of a faithful heart.” Max Lucado