The words that Pastor Gene shared on Sunday have reverberated in my heart for the last 26 or so hours. It has been said that Martin Luther used to stare at these words to remind himself of the claim of God upon his life. I’ve muttered them throughout my day today, and as I went about my daily routine, a clear piece of glass with a shell fell from my pocket. It startled me as it hit the floor with a sharp crack. Sunday I had traded my rock in for a reminder of my baptism, just like many of you did.
But the work of ministry is not always glamorous, and as such I went into the sanctuary today to tidy up after Sunday’s worship. When I picked up the glass vessels which contained reminders of our baptism, I discovered that some had dropped their rock directly into the vessel instead of placing it beside the vessel.
And I stood there, alone in the sanctuary, stunned.
Sometimes in our human failing, the work of living into our baptism causes harm to others. It is like we, whether knowingly or unknowingly, drop a rock into the beautiful blue, green, and clear waters of our baptism. That rock sinks to the bottom, a reminder of the people we have excluded, the people we have ignored, and the people that, to be honest, we would rather just not be around. But we’re not honest with ourselves very often. We say that all are welcome, knowing that our own biases and experiences still exclude and harm others. To be clear, God’s work within us at our baptism is perfect. It is holy. It makes us whole. Unfortunately our humanity gets in the way of being holy and whole.
This week I am spending time carrying this glass rock in my pocket as a reminder of God’s claim upon all who submit to the life-giving waters of baptism. I hope that as we at Linworth United Methodist Church turn our hearts toward the adoption of a statement of inclusivity, we would remember the covenant of baptism which is not discriminating.
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?
 If you weren’t here or did not get a chance to trade your rock… or maybe you just want a reminder of your baptism… find me! I’ve got lots of reminders left in my office!