During high school, I tried a difficult dive off a 3-meter board. My coach had been clear about what to do and when I tried to do it, there was just a lot to keep track of. By the time I would get to the end of the board, I’d freeze. I forgot what I needed to do to go forward. By then, I’d lost the needed momentum and had to start all over again. Each time I got a little more information from the coach, encouragement from teammates, and a clearer picture of what happened next. But the only way I was going to get off that board was by starting all over again.
The practice of baptism is a lot like learning to dive. It feels like it runs in circles, and we move forward only by beginning all over again. We return again and again to the name we received in baptism: Child of God. We move forward only by returning to the baptismal blessing: “This is my child, the beloved.”
Returning to that name and that blessing orients us to the journey ahead like the run down a 3-meter board orients a diver to the jack-knife ahead. The call of that baptism issues a simple invitation: “Follow me.”
Today we remember John Calvin, renewer of the church, who died in 1564. This message was adapted from “Consolations of Baptism” written by Martha E. Stortz that first appeared in the June 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine. for articles about faith, action, comfort and community.