Now there may not be too many of us who have experienced adult baptism, or can even say that they remember their baptisms. My first baptism happened when I was 5 months old and recovering from chicken pox. I have no memory of my first baptism. My second baptism was done by the same clergy person happen in February 1999 when I was 17 years old on a church trip to Israel in the Jordan River. My first baptism happened at the insistence of my parents. I was not involved in the decision making process. But my second baptism involved a discussion with my clergy person, Rev. Ted Dole and he told me that it was completely my decision. He was not going to push me because my first baptism would suffice for life. But wouldn’t it be nice for an aspiring clergy person to be baptized in the same waters as Christ?
Wouldn’t it be a fitting start to my road towards ministry to start it the same way the Christ started his? I remember being unsure for weeks leading up to the trip. But once there I felt compelled to walk into the water and to be dunked. I remember not quite being ready for the experience. The water was shockingly cold. It took my breath away. But Rev. Dole was right. My life was never the same after that experience. From that point on, my life took on a new commitment. I was no longer a child who could come and go as she pleased. I started working in the pulpit that summer with the minister. It was my job to read the scriptures. It was my job to organize the minister’s papers, notes, announcements, hymnals, and to make sure he had water.
I had committed myself so until I went away to college the next year I could not miss a Sunday. When we come to faith, when we accept the teachings of Jesus into our lives, then we are committing ourselves. Our time, our talents, our energy, our passion, and we give to support the functions of the church in this world; because our lives have been changed we must share that goodness with others and in community. A liturgy training publication used in seminary states this about baptism, “When the convert emerges from the water, the world seems changed. The world has not changed; it is always wonderful and horrible, iniquitous and filled with beauty. But now, after baptism, the eyes that see the world have changed”.
Peter spends time in this portion of Acts talking about the changes that happen when baptism occurs and he uses Christ’s baptism as the example. Just as Christ’s life and the lives of the apostles all changed when coming to faith and being baptized, so too our lives should change when we find community, God, and the blessings of God all around. Let us make that the story of the world and not the horrible, the injustice, or the suffering. When we choose to come to Christ in faith, whether through the act of adult baptism or through the act of confirmation or by joining a faith community, we are saying that we want to do something to highlight the wonderful works of God in this world in the hopes of driving away the pain that so often accompanies human life. We are committing to living a new life; a life governed by the love and teachings of Christ.
We all come together emerging into this new life with new eyes for seeing the glory of God all around us. That glory that we see should give us the strength, the courage to live into Christ teachings with new vigor with each new day. It should give us the courage to commit our time, our energy, our passions, our all to living more fully into God’s light and helping others find the love of Christ in their lives, in their worlds, and bringing them towards offering their praises to God for the good that is all around.
Remember the speech of Peter that Tom read for us this morning from Acts when Peter told Cornelius and his associates, “To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” Let us join with the prophets and bear witness to the world that humanity is loved, forgiven, and invited to view God with new eyes and a renewed heart for helping one another become the best version of who God created us to be.
We do this by committing to help with outreach projects, committing to a community of faith, working together to build one another up in Christ and to build up the world. So consider pledging and committing yourselves to a new year of living more fully into the love of Christ with each new day. Consider supporting our church and our activities, and work together with us in community to further realize the new life being offered to all who believe and come seeking. So if you are considering pledging this year there are pledge cards in the office and the information centers, if you are considering trying some new outreach opportunities then give food kitchen a try, if you are considering learning more about our scriptures then join us for Bible Study, if you have talents and skills to offer then consider joining a board or committee, or if you are looking to commit yourself to our faith community speak to me following worship, in an email, or by calling. This is the year to commit ourselves to the new life offered to all through Christ. Let our commitment to Christ’s new life be a beacon of hope and light that drives away the despair in life from this world.
 Liturgy Training Publication.
 Acts 10:43, RSV.
(based on Acts 10: 34-43)