Sharing Our Stories: Thursday Edition (01/07/2021)
This was an email originally sent out to the parish on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
Here are the latest group of stories we have collected. This is a wonderful way for us to stay connected with one another and to accompany one another on this journey. We would love to have YOUR story. Check out the broad guidelines HERE. And if you have already submitted a story, please let us have another one!
Reflection by Dwight Russell
Several years ago I attended a class at St. Mark’s Cathedral which ended with Holy Communion. As we knelt at the rail, Sandy Hampton, the Assisting Bishop, gave each of us a blessing with the loud admonition: “Remember your baptism!” I, and some others, thought: “How could I remember, I was only one month old?” Later I realized that he was calling us to a much deeper meaning which led me to study the Covenant of Baptism. Here are some excerpts from that study.
1. With whom is this covenant and how do you live out this relationship? The covenant is with God, but it is also with the Church in that we “share” burdens. It isn’t just the choosing of a new life-style and adopting new words, but a “gift”. We must live out the covenant pro-actively by ministering to the poor, the suffering and the needy (“feed my sheep”).
2. What the relationship is not. It is not the formation of a ritual and a religious elite who are distinguished from everyone else. The baptized are like everyone else in the common need for mercy, grace and the forgiveness of sins.
3. How do we see/understand God in this? In a real sense, God emptied himself to death. We are baptized into the death of Jesus. As a baptizing priest said: “Come die with us so that your life can be given back to you in a way you could never imagine.” Water symbolizes and stands for Christ – the woman at the well (water), the blind man at the pool (water).
4. What is called forth? We are called to continuing conversion as manifested in the exploration and recognition of our individual gifts for ministry. We are also called to encourage the expression of differences, not their suppression, to support each other when we fail. By reviewing and renewing our baptismal vows, followed by Pentecost, every Christian can be re-inserted into the identity proclaimed by the baptismal process.
5. Questions Do the promises made at baptism guide our everyday lives? Do we make every effort to connect our lives in the Church to the other dimensions of our lives (career, social, etc.)? We are encouraged to use our devotional life and our congregational community to continue living into a life of ministry in all that we undertake. However, it is necessary to remember that ministry can become just a role and a function rather than a testimony to who and what we are.
Thanks for listening. Dwight Russell