This Sunday we have the joy of seeing five people being baptised as part of our morning worship. Please be praying for Callum, Katie, Adam, Priscilla and Fereshte as they prepare what they are going to say and that they would know God’s closeness to them this week especially.

Head above the parapet.

Being baptised is one of those “head above the parapet” moments in our Christian life. It is the point in our Christian journey where we say unequivocally and publicly, I am a disciple of Jesus, he is my Lord and Saviour. It is the moment in which we publicly, to use a different metaphor, nail our colours to the mast with regards to following Jesus.

A Public Witness

There is something theologically important about the public nature of baptism. It is an act of witness not just of something which has already happened (an outward sign of inward grace), but also a present witness to those gathered, and to the spiritual powers. It is where we verbally and visually (through the act of baptism) declare that we now belong to God, Jesus Christ is our Lord, and we have been raised to new-life in Christ.

The old has gone, behold, all things are new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

A new life emerges.

I think Eugene Peterson in The Message captures well what Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Peterson’s translation of Paul’s Greek says, “The old life is gone; a new life emerges!”.

I like the word “emerges” because it speaks of something significant having happened, yet also suggests that it is a beginning (rather than an endpoint).

Baptism is not a destination, but a waypoint on our journey as a new life emerges and we seek to grow and mature in Christ and seek to see the Holy Spirit form Christ in us.

Life above the parapet.

The phrase, “head above the parapet” is often used for standing up for something you believe in, knowing that in doing so you may face opposition.

This is true of baptism.

Our public witness that Jesus Christ is our Lord, our commitment, as a response to God’s love and grace, to live in a way which is pleasing to him (Colossians 1:10) and witnesses to his love and grace, is an act of not momentarily sticking our head above the parapet but choosing to live above the parapet.

Life above the parapet means people we know may react differently / negatively to us. It also means we may face some spiritual opposition. Many of our sisters and brothers in Christ around the world face physical and violent persecution because they faithfully follow Jesus in living above the parapet.

A Moment of Vulnerability.

To stand in the baptism tank and be baptised is a moment of vulnerability.

It is a moment of vulnerability because those being baptised will speak publicly, before you, and friends, and family, of what God has done in their lives and their responses which have led to this point.

It is a moment of vulnerability because having stuck their heads above the parapet, and declared they choose to follow Jesus, they are committing to live life above the parapet.

So, it is important that we pray for Callum, Katie, Adam, Priscilla and Fereshte not only as they prepare for their baptism but in the days and weeks which follow. Pray that they would know God’s protection. Pray that they would have a boldness to speak to others about Jesus and their commitment to follow him. Pray that they would be strong in their faith and continue to grow in their experience and knowledge of God’s love, grace, holiness, and goodness, and of what it means to faithfully follow him.

See you all on Sunday.

Grace and peace.