As we joyfully celebrate a baptism in church Fran draws parallels between the act of being baptised and brewing tea.
For my birthday I received a teapot and some tea. I have teapots. I have tea. But what made this so special is that this is a glass teapot with a glass internal strainer. I can watch the tea brew and pour when it reaches the right colour. However, it is the tea that is really interesting.
The tea is small flower balls. They look like large, dried moth balls, unpromising and dull. The magic happens when one of these balls is immersed in hot water in the teapot. As the ball is fully submerged in the water slowly it unfurls and expands to reveal a small bouquet of dried flowers and leaves. Through the glass I can witness the gradual transformation and watch the water change colour to a golden hue. After about five minutes I have a refreshing pot of herbal tea.
This week we are celebrating a baptism in church. The word ‘baptize’ comes from the Greek baptizo which means to immerse, a bit like my flower tea. In practice we bring baptism candidates out of the water fairly quickly. We don’t want people drowning! But our baptism is not a one-off event. We immerse ourselves in Christ, continually allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us and permeate every aspect of our lives. It is as we are immersed in Christ that we are changed.
We don’t always see the changes as we become more and more Christ-like, and it is a slow process. But we are being changed, brought into the fullness of life. As the old hymn says: ‘Changed from glory into glory, till at last we see His face’.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he talks about our immersion in Christ and how that changes us. (Galatians 3:27). We are ‘clothed’ in Christ, and we are beautiful. Paul reminds us that we are part of God’s kaleidoscope of humanity, ‘all one in Christ Jesus’.
We might think we are dull, dusty, worthless and uninteresting, but immersed in Christ we are being gradually brought to life and our true beauty is revealed. It is an ongoing process. Our water baptism might be a one in a life-time event, but we are continually baptised in Christ, as we live our lives fully immersed in him.
Now, where is my cup of tea?