By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
By now, most everyone has seen the coverage of the events that took place in Washington DC and in and around our nation’s capitol building last Wednesday. The scenes and images of those hours of violence and destruction were hard to watch and left many of us shaken in disbelief and feeling angry, sad, frightened, shocked and disappointed. All of this came less than a week into 2021 and on the heels of all we have struggled through in 2020.
As the breaking news took over every major news network, I was working on the pieces of our weekend worship service that would include reaffirming the vows of our baptism. The contrast between what was playing out on the news coverage and the words to our baptism vows that I had up on my computer screen was striking.
The vows we take for ourselves at baptism or when we bring our children for baptism are questions that ask:
- Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sins?
- Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
- Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to ages, nations, races and orientations?
We begin our worship each week by pouring water into our Baptism font in the sanctuary and remember our baptism with thankfulness. And while we may not literally be able to remember the day we were baptized because we were an infant or child, we are called to remember the vows of baptism and how those vows lead us through all of life. The vows are relevant and real to our daily living and really are a call to action and remind us that we have choices, along with freedom and power to live as the body of Christ and Christ’s representatives in the world.
Jesus modeled a life of love that renounced evil, injustice and oppression and pointed us to the power of God to resist these things in whatever forms they come at us. As we live the vows of our baptism, may we live the kind of love that gives light to those who sit in darkness. In that way, we will be guided into the way of peace.