Thursday, March 10, 2011

What's In a Name?

The service for Holy Baptism is one of my favorite services in the Book of Common Prayer.  There's something about welcoming new members into this wonderful family of believers that just resonates with my soul.  The more attentive among you may have recognized that part of my last sentence from yesterday's blog was drawn from part of that service.  Towards the end of the Baptismal Covenant, there is a line that reads, "Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?"  Of course, everyone responds, "We will, with God's help," but what does this really mean?  How can we seek and serve Christ in all persons?

There are some people in whom we can easily see Christ.  For example, you don't have to look any further than my name to see Christ (I hope I don't need to spell this out for anyone, but, if you're struggling, please see the name of this blog).  All kidding aside, some people just seem to be great examples of Christ.  Seeking and serving Christ in these people is easy, but what about everyone else?  I'm reminded of a part of the passage on the Judgement of the Nations from Matthew:
"[Just] as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me...just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”  -Matthew 25:40, 45
The "least of these" referred to here are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, those in prison, any one who is marginalized or devalued in our society.  These are the ones in whom Jesus tells us we should seek and serve Him.  It's not about finding people that meet our standards of worthiness and serving Christ in them.  Instead, we are called to find Christ in those we would rather ignore.  Loving the lovable is easy, but only when we can love the unlovable as well will we truly be honoring the vow we take in baptism.

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