Baptism is a naming. Ultimately baptism is naming someone as a child of God. I think we’re all children of God and that baptism acknowledges that.
You don’t become a child of God when you cross off a list of things to do, or even when you are baptised, being baptised is simply a naming, an acknowledgement of someone’s existing belovedness.
When Jesus was baptised, he didn’t only begin to be loved by God when he was baptised, it was an acknowledgement of his eternal belovedness.
I really think that baptism is an acknowledgement of people’s belovedness, and when we treat it like that… in the orthodox tradition a part of the baptismal service is a renunciation of Satan and his daemons and of evil. The way I look at that and apply that is that baptism is a renunciation of all the competing voices that try to tell you who you are.
The world gives you names like screwup, faker, fat, slut, addict…
in baptism you’re named beloved.
The daemons, the world beckons with rich, powerful, pretty, bright…
in baptism you’re told you are beloved and that is enough.
I think that everyone wants to be told who they are, and in baptism we’re told that we are a beloved child of God and to renounce anything that says otherwise. It’s a defiant thing to do.
I look at baptism as defiance, because the world will always try to name us, and in baptism we say “no, my name is beloved.”
Whether that happens when you’re an infant and you’re remembering your baptism as God naming you beloved, or whether it happens as an adult, I think that when we think about the significance of our baptism it’s that we are named by God, and that is enough.
It is good news