What is baptism? Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church. (New City Catechism)
Why water? First
He hovered, spirit, above the depths,
divided water in sky from land,
said, “Here shall your proud waves be stopped,
here go no further.”
Yet then, when earth
had sickened and man had withered His image,
He took out the stopper and let the waves pour forth.
Now He bids
water flow over bodies
and into hearts, cleansing, reversing
the tides of shame, of uncreation; now pours
Spirit flooding with life, where only
death once hovered.
Take the waves, take
the plunge. Life beckons.
Still His Spirit hovers and breathes
into the dead, still He makes
and remakes and remakes.
Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from? All the gifts we receive from Christ we receive through the Holy Spirit, including faith itself. (New City Catechism)
Even faith’s a gift:
that I can stretch out my hand
free gift of grace,
in death does not occur;
clings only to the dust,
respired by gift of faith.
Even faith’s from His hand:
breathes out life-desiring life
breathes hope that there
is more than death ahead.
desires, the Spirit gives.
for faith itself’s a gift.
Justification means our declared righteousness before God, made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection for us. Sanctification means our gradual, growing righteousness, made possible by the Spirit’s work in us.
(New City Catechism)
First, declared –
First a righteousness which comes
in shower, blood,
First the gavel’s pound upon
the bench declares
Then the change –
“As you are, and
have been called –
now be each day. Now live a life
this calling, worthy
of this Life.”
First the calling, first New Life,
then life transformed