The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: J

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Julie and the baptismal card

When our son Adam was baptized, a sister in our ecclesia, Julie, went looking for a card to celebrate the baptism. Julie worked in downtown San Antonio, a city which is predominantly Hispanic and Catholic. She knew there was a "religious" shop near her office, and she assumed that she would be able to find a suitable card there. So off she went at lunch.

"Yes," said the shopkeeper, an elderly and well-meaning lady, "we have many baptismal cards!" And she directed Julie to the card display. And there were many cards for "baptisms", but they were all cards for the parents of infants who had been "baptized", or more properly "sprinkled"! With growing exasperation, Julie looked through card after card of beautiful babies, with sweet, sentimental words for the parents of such newborns.

And Adam was a "newborn" too. But he was a sixteen-year-old, six-foot, 200-pound "newborn"! None of these cards would work!

"Don't you have any other cards?" Julie asked the shopkeeper. "Something for an adult who is being baptized?" Now the little lady was clearly puzzled; one could only imagine her confusion as she tried to fit a grown manchild into the Catholic stereotype: smiling parents and godparents standing around a berobed priest as he held a little 200-pound bundle of joy in his arms and made the sign of the cross with holy water on his forehead!

So while the lady rummaged around under her counter, Julie went exploring. And, sure enough, in no time at all she found just what she wanted. In another rack of the card section, a lovely card with these words: "God bless you as you enter into the Lord's service." And on the inside:

"In loving dedication
You've set your life apart
To serve our Lord and teach his word
With an ever-faithful heart.
And may his richest blessing
Come to you day by day
As devotedly you do his work
And follow in his way."

The card closed with the quotation of 1Co 7:22: "He that is called, being free, is Christ's servant."

"This one will do just fine," Julie said as she reached for her purse.

But now the clerk had a horrified expression. "No! You can't take that card!" She was adamant. "That's a card for the ordination of a priest!"

Julie persisted. "Oh yes, I'll take it!" she replied. "It's perfect. You see, when he's baptized, he will be a priest." And off she went, leaving behind what by now must have been a thoroughly bewildered salesperson.

What a blessing it is to know the Truth! To realize that we have no need of a specially consecrated human "priest" to see that our prayers reach heaven. To know that "there is (only) one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1Ti 2:5). And to know that all of us who are baptized into Christ, even the newly-baptized, are truly "kings and priests" (Rev 5:10), and a holy priesthood dedicated to offer spiritual sacrifices to God (1Pe 2:5), to declare the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (v 9).

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