Acts 19:1-7 (NRSV)
19While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?" They replied, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3Then he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They answered, "Into John's baptism." 4Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus." 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied 7altogether there were about twelve of them.
“Who is my father?” A teenage son asked this question of his mother after finding his birth certificate. The space for “father” was empty. “Who is my father?”
Pastors get questions when it comes to baptism. Some are easy (i.e., “How many times can I be baptized?”). But some are trickier (i.e., “I was baptized as a Mormon, why do I need to do it again?”)
Perhaps it isn’t bad to approach baptism like one would a birth. The piece of paper (birth certificate) isn’t the birth itself, but draws the connection of the one born to those who brought about the birth. So also, a baptismal certificate isn’t the baptism itself, but draws the connection of the one baptized to the Triune God.
“Who is your Father?” The One who, through the Son and the Spirit, brings about your birth into a new reality, the forever family of God.
Loving God, who adopts me into your family, help me be confident in your claim upon me and willing to live as a reflection of your embracing grace. Amen.