I now baptize you in the name of the sacred in the midst of your suffering

I remember the day I was baptized. My dad baptized me, and my math tutor, on the same day. I wanted it done early in the service so I could take communion for the first time that day. I was a seminary nerd in the making from a young age, apparently. We sang beautiful hymns that day, and heard a sermon about peace.

What a day of rejoicing it was.

I hadn’t had any calls and I was already 2 hours into my Saturday on-call shift – a personal best as far as residency on calls go. When I was an intern my call shifts were pretty quiet. Not so with residency. Anyway, I was playing my violin in the chapel when I got a call from a nurse to come meet with a family who wanted their baby baptized by the chaplain. Since I was in the chapel, I grabbed the gold baptismal seashell from the chapel closet and headed up. After speaking with the family, I asked the nurse for some sterile water and went down to my office to grab a gift Bible and to spend a few minutes writing up a baptismal service.

We joined hands around the crib and we prayed. We prayed for God to join with us in that space and receive our prayers and blessings. I read Luke 18:16:

But Jesus called for them and said “let the little children come to me and do not stop them for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

And I baptized the child in the name of God the father, Christ the son and of the Holy Spirit.

There were tears of mixed emotions – fear and sadness at the child’s prognosis, and a steely, determined clinging to the hope and peace of God.

As I closed in prayer, asking for God’s peace to surround this family, for God’s love to hold them up, my thoughts turned to the hope and peace of God, and to a day when this family’s suffering will be at an end for good.

What a day of rejoicing that will be.

2 thoughts on “I now baptize you in the name of the sacred in the midst of your suffering

  1. Beautiful, Sara. Thanks for sharing. Doing infant baptisms is one of my favorite things about being a chaplain, even though those are often very sad cases. It is such a special and meaningful ritual for their families. I’m always honored to do it. I too long for the day when the hope and peace of God will reign. Blessings to you in your work!

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