I sometimes wonder, when we celebrate a baptism, what the people involved think when the priest say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Most people imagine God the Father creating the earth and stars. Most know Jesus as the Son revealing God’s love and being executed for his efforts. But few imagine God the Spirit beckoning them to love beyond their comfort and safety for a future beyond imagining. Yet, it’s God in that intimate union with us that we name The Holy Spirit.
God’s Spirit gave Jesus life, it revealed his work to him at his baptism, it gave him the courage to carry out his mission and the joy he experienced when he saw it succeed. It was the presence of God’s Spirit that Jesus promised his disciples to guide them in continuing his work.
People frequently ask where God is in their lives. If Jesus’ life is the pattern for Christian living, it’s the Spirit of God that leads us to search for God. It’s the Spirit that urges us to hope in life, whatever adversity we face. It’s the Spirit that motivates us to commit our time and energy – even our individual lives – to the future of life.
Our longing for and commitment to God in the present are inseparable from living for the world of God’s future. It’s no different from our love and care for children now that’s inseparable from our hope for their future.
A danger of being mortal is that we tend see everything in terms of our own lifespan. God, however, is bringing about something that can’t be realized in such a few years. When we say that we believe in Jesus, his life, his promise and his resurrection, we are saying that we view our destiny not in terms of our individual lives but in terms of God’s Future that will embrace us all. Living baptism means responding to God’s Spirit urging us on toward that reality.