Hope to Carry On: February 21, 2024

Lenten Devotional Book 2024

Read: 1 Peter 3:18-22

“..and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” – 1 Peter 3:21-22 (NIV)

When my son Daniel was born prematurely in April 2009, my former husband Jon wanted to baptize him as soon as possible so he “would be OK” if something happened. I was in the throes of PTSD from Daniel’s traumatic birth as well as post-partum depression, and I was hedging out of terror that it would jinx him because of the events of the previous few days. My mother (who is not religious) was the tie-breaking vote, commenting that the baptism “[would be] a celebration of Daniel making it.” After acquiring some sterile water and a medicine cup from a NICU nurse, and borrowing some anointing oil from the hospital chaplain, we baptized Daniel in the NICU of Benefis East on April 10, 2009, with my mother, uncle, and a NICU nurse as witnesses. My best friend Rebecca, Jon’s best friend Justin, and Justin’s wife Dawn were named as godparents.

I do not believe for one minute that God would automatically send a 4-day old baby to hell for not being baptized in time, but I do believe baptism is important. It has been described as “an outward sign of an inward grace”, and I remember hearing endlessly at my Lutheran seminary about the importance of put[ting] on your daily baptism.” The author of 1 Peter is writing to persecuted churches and reminding them that they are saved because of their baptisms which get their saving power by the resurrection of Christ, as they were uniting themselves with Christ through these baptisms. As their baptisms saved them, my baptism at age 19 saves me, and Daniel’s baptism a few days after birth saves him. This salvation is hope for us.

Thank you, Lord, that our baptisms save us by your resurrection. Amen.
– Jen McCabe