I have been taught that in baptism, God gave me the gift of His Holy Spirit, to reside within me and accompany me throughout my life, instilling me with the faith that I cannot myself construct. I am reminded of Luther’s Small Catechism, regarding the third article of the Apostles’ Creed. This class has been teaching me about the means of grace, administered to all of us assembled in worship. So, I see every worship service as my re-baptism. Each time I participate and experience the Holy Spirit given to us through Word and Sacrament, the experience seems like a repeat of the same transference that happened in my own baptism.
The transference of Holy Spirit, whether at my baptism or during worship now, fortifies and blooms my faith to cause me to see the world in a different way. Rather than experiencing my day-to-day existence as the world’s dominant narrative of law, my faith opens my eyes to our alternative narrative of free mercy and love poured out unto the world through us as instruments of the grace of God in Christ. My regular attendance at Sunday worship is crucial for me conceiving myself as an instrument of God’s grace, and crucial for sustaining me to actually be that instrument.
At Christ Church, we exercise an intentional focus on remembering our baptism in every worship service. I think that otherwise, I would not have made a conscious connection between my baptism and my worship. Instead of a distant event, I have been encouraged to develop a sense of continuity between my baptism as a baby, and my faith life now. And because of this, I find myself boldly proclaiming that God has brought me this far, and that God will continue to bring me forth through the rest of my life.
And as my baptism was not my own choice, but a choice made for me, I can relate to the notion of God having chosen to be in relationship with me – not a choice that I have to worry about making rightly. In that same way, when I help with worship as assisting minister or in other ways, I don’t have to worry about being right or perfect. God has already chosen for us. We can feel liberated that we do not have to worry about whether our worship is perfect – we can focus on its meaning for us, and come to it as the broken people we are, needing to receive consolation and forgiveness, and needing to be empowered to give voice to our praise of God that the world sometimes seems to suppress.