Yesterday my nephew, Rayburn Michael Donaldson, was baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Though I was not able to be present at the service, I am so glad to be Michael’s godfather.
On Saturday night, my parents had the family over for a dinner to celebrate the occasion. Before the feasting began, my mom asked me to say a blessing over the food. It went something like this:
“Almighty and most gracious God, we thank for the waters of baptism, into which Michael will be drowned, and then raised to a new life in Christ. We thank also for this food, that it may sustain us to do our work in your Kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Maybe you find this prayer strange, as many of my family and friends did. During the prayer they all let out a nervous chuckle, and afterwards they said, “Drowned? Really? I wasn’t expecting that word.”
I replied, and I still say, that is exactly what is happening. In our baptism, we are drowned to the old life, the life of sin and selfishness. Then, as we are drawn up out of the water, we are raised to a new life with Christ. Don’t let the sprinkled water fool you, the point is that we die with Christ and are raised again.
So here’s the point I’m trying to make: when you talk about your Christian faith, don’ t use wimpy euphemisms when perfectly good words exist. Don’t say, “I donate to the Church.” Say, “I sacrifice everything I am and everything I own to the mission of God.” Don’t say, “I goofed up.” Say, “I missed the mark, I sinned.” Don’t say, “The Church is a volunteer organization.” Say, “I serve the Church because that’s how I serve Jesus.”
Please, whatever you do, give your words a spine. Make them mean something. Tell it like it is. Don’t say, “Wasn’t that baptism nice?” Say, “I died with Christ so I could live again.”