While baptism is a gift that God initiates and gives, we often focus
primarily on the one who receives it. A decision to follow Christ
is always cause for celebration. But if our celebrating never points
beyond the recipient to the mystery of God’s grace at work within
and among us all, we miss a more powerful experience.
If we ever reduce baptism to simply an individual achievement or
a membership requirement, we need to remember that it means more
than that to God. God creates and uses the covenant of baptism to
form a unique relationship with us. In describing God’s covenant
with David, the psalmist emphasizes how God’s grace and steadfast
love is what sustains every covenant we make with the Divine.
As you read today’s section of the psalm, notice the steady rhythm of I have and I will throughout the verses. God is the active subject, forever faithful to the covenant. When we picture the coro- nation in verse 19, our focus is not on the one being crowned, but on the one who does the crowning.
I’m especially drawn to verses 30-33, in which God promises that
this remarkable love will not be threatened by human mistakes. This
is good news for those of us who mess up! If I stray from the path
God wants me to follow, if I lie or cheat or steal, get angry with God
or others, or if I become disillusioned and ignore my part of the cove-
nant for a while, even so God will remain steadfast.
God says, If [David’s] children forsake my law… then I will punish their transgressions… but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness (vv. 30-33). This is the hope we have in the One who loves us forever. This is the continuing hope of our baptism. Thanks be to God.
How is God’s grace at work in you today?
God, forgive us when we fail to live out our covenant with you. Thank you for your steadfast love and your faithfulness to us always. Amen.