This Sunday , which commemorates the Baptism of Jesus, is a leap forward in time. Seems like we just celebrated his birth, and now here’s the adult Jesus down at the Jordan River getting baptized. They grow up so fast!
What this Sunday does for progressive Christians, however , is raise a lot of questions about what baptism is. It also raises questions for those of us who have come to regard other religious traditions as equally valid. It was much simpler in the days before our interfaith engagements caused us to question how we Christians propagate an (often unintentional) exclusivism and triumphalism. Our theology of baptism should be a central topic in the intrafaith conversation.
I am indebted to Pastor Dawn Hutchings, a colleague from the Lutheran Church in Canada. Her recent blog post, A Progressive Christian Wades into the Waters of Baptism, is a fine piece of writing on this theological task. I re-post it here as a conversation starter.
Then the next step is to broaden the topic into the interfaith arena.
I encourage you to look over your baptism liturgies, hymns and prayers. But read them through the eyes of a person of another belief system.
What are the issues, questions, and concerns that arise for you? How has your theology of baptism changed/ evolved through your interfaith encounters?
How might you adapt these changes in the congregation?
What is baptism to you?