By Rev. Sarah Campbell

Who would have ever imagined that the 2000-year-old ritual of baptism would become so countercultural? It is no longer an assumed rite of passage for those with Christian ancestors, as more people are choosing a church-less or religion-less life for themselves and their children.

Now, baptism is for those who are really choosing to raise their children on the Jesus path; for those who are choosing to be countercultural, that is, by not following the herd into the individualistic, spiritual-but-not-religious life; for those choosing to look deeper than ever-present, superficial reactivity to Christianity; for those who know in their bones that the Christian right doesn’t capture the truth of this religion that has been at the heart of most social-justice movements in the history of this country, and at the heart of how our beloved ancestors, those who exuded loving kindness, chose to live their lives.

Fortunately, these thoughtful, countercultural, hungry-for-meaning young adults and young parents are searching for churches like Mayflower. Are we seeing the slow beginnings of a revival coming out of Covid, similar to the three other great revivals in our country’s history that likewise arose out of times of great hardship?

We will be baptizing one child, maybe more (let Rev. Bell know if you are interested in baptism for yourself or your child), on the first Sunday in the new year of 2024.

Baptism, this holy ritual, when we hold the child up to the universe and hear God saying (in God’s still small voice): “O child, you are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”

Baptism, this holy ritual, when we all promise to raise this child together on the Jesus path.

Are you finding the promises we all make to this child to be weightier and more compelling than ever? It is an intensely ubuntu promise in this culture of hyper-individualism and increasing loneliness. Did you hear Gene Roehlkepartain’s sermon on Dec. 10th? Find it on our website at “We somehow need to reclaim and live into that vision—that baptismal calling. What if all of us in this faith village were attentive to and really knew the names, gifts, and passions of all the children and teenagers who are connected to this community of faith?”

And the promise is more demanding than ever in this time of climate disruption. What sacrifices are we willing to make, to keep the earth habitable for the next generations? The Earthwise team, plus some former Deacons, are working on a new baptismal vow for our congregation; one about water and the earth and the future generations.

I have a personal practice. I’ve shared this before. (You may wish to create one of your own.) Whenever I’m near a baptismal font, at Mayflower or in another Christian church, I touch the water and then my forehead in the shape of the cross and say to myself, reminding myself of my baptism: “Remember who you are.”

How wonderful are these mysterious and holy sacraments of our faith!!