Maybe every Baptism is like that of Jesus; there is a sign, the
heavens open, and a voice declares, “You are my beloved.” All we need is our hearts open so our eyes are adjusted and our ears attuned to discern the callings of the spirit.
Years ago now my Roman Catholic priest friend said to me, “You don’t
have to be baptized to be a beloved child of God. All you have to do
is to be born. That is enough.”
We do Baptisms to try to make visible what is the already
existent eternal truth: that each one is a beloved and cherished child
of God, a sacred vessel, a container of the holy. And that’s why we
baptize, to make physical by water and the spirit, the indwelling
spiritual DNA, that begins at our birth.
Did Jesus or John intend for his baptism to be the one, the only
manifestation of the divine? Or like the water that poured down the
Jordan River from the Mountains, might he have intended that we all
become conscious of our divine connection?
It seems to me that each one is a beloved child of God. Our genetics are both fully human and fully divine. Our task in life is to discover each. In the process of becoming fully human our spirits grow.
I’ve baptized hundreds of people, I’ve blessed a three legged seeing
eye black Lab, and an Iguana. Each time whether I was aware of it or
not, their was a moment of sanctity that was beyond expression and a
voice that said: “Dear One, I love you, you are my beloved child.”
And yet we are not gods. We are called to be neither gods nor angels, but
to be human in all our particularity. Like Jesus, we are each a
scandal of the particular: race, ethnicity, class, sex, politics,
nationality, location, DNA, even the prejudices of our culture and
outlook of family and peers make of us in our time a particular
We, like Jesus, are called to remember and to seek and find in our
particular identity the seeds of the spirit, the universality that
desires to be born in the particularity of our place and time. Some
have been blessed to know this truth. Most of us have had to struggle
to try to remember the whisperings in our ear and some have been
caught in the web of their time and culture and have almost given up
looking or hoping or believing.
We are neither gods nor angels. We are sanctified vessels
into which the world is poured: All its truths and lies, tragedies and
comedies, failures and victories, hatreds and loves. How we keep and
nurture our brave and full humanity in the midst of the world began
with those words whispered to us at our birth. “You are my beloved.”
In those nights of self-doubt and suffering we hold on to the divine,
for me it is the Christ. I hold on to Him now as much as the Christ
holds on to me. Together we support and comfort and challenge each
other as we make our way from the river into the world. With Him it just might be possible for me
to love the whole creation.