In the Episcopal Church we view baptism as something that happens in community. No late afternoon baptisms in secluded chapel for us. When a person is baptized, the whole community is a part of it. The one being baptized, parents, sponsors, presider, prayer leaders, and everyone there have a part in the service. What I love about our service of baptism is the communal nature of it that underscores the communal nature of our Christian journey. When the people of God shout out a loud, “We will” to the question “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” we are really promising to support one another in our lives in Christ.
Giving legs to this promise is hard work. But I think it starts with the recognition that we are all beloved children of God. Starting with this notion of belovedness changes everything—how we view one another, the questions we ask one another, the hopes we have for one another and for the community we share. “Beloved of God”—how different that is from “target audience” or “our competitors” or “the opposition” or “the enemy”. Imagine how our corporate life would change if work-places, playing fields, political campaigns all started with the notion of “beloved of God”!
Tomorrow is Earth Day—a day in which we recognize not only the beauty of the earth but also that our very earth itself is beloved of God. I wonder how our lives would change if we really lived into the notion of the earth on which we live and the water we drink and the air we breathe all are beloved of God. What if we thought of even time itself as beloved of God? How would that change things?