Sunday, 24 January 2016

Baptism: An Analogy to our Faith

Have you ever noticed how infants behave when they are about to be baptised? Some of you may wonder: "But infants are infants. They either sleep, feed or cry. What are you getting at?" Well, actually if you observe infants and how they respond when you baptise them, we could get some insights about ourselves, as well as how and where we are in our faith.

Among the many infants I have baptised, the ones I find quite interesting are the little ones who look at you with those big eyes, as if they are looking with curiosity and wonder. When you baptise them, they do not make much of a fuss, and it is a joy to see the reaction of the parents, godparents and others present. Sometimes, I hear a little chuckle or happy sound coming from the infant. Perhaps the infant might have experienced the Lord's presence, or the feeling of being redeemed by the Lord.

The second kind of infants I encounter are those who cry like crazy when they are about to be baptised. It sounds as if they are saying: "NO! Don't give me that! I don't want! Leave me alone! Go away! Arrgh! Water is coming! No good!" Some of these infants may be crying for a good reason: perhaps it is hungry, or has soiled its diapers, or something might have happened, but wow can they make a fuss. Sometimes, the infant continues crying even after the baptism, and some even cry louder, appearing as if they are trying to voice their displeasure or throw a tantrum. It is interesting to see the response of the parents and other family members, doing their utmost best to calm the little one down, while possibly getting stressed and frazzled as well.

The third kind of infants are those who sleep through the baptism, or just open their eyes for a little while, and then go back to sleep. It is as if they are saying: "Mmmh? What's this? Oh? A bath? Some water to drink? Some... zzzzz." These infants seem to be oblivious about what is going on, and they can really sleep, even long after the baptism has been completed.

Now what does all these have to do with our faith? If I may make an analogy, our faith could be similar to those infants who are a joy while being baptised, or those infants who make so much fuss, or even those infants who seem sleepy and oblivious to what is happening. Some of us are like the first kind of infants, curious and full of wonder of our faith, and we joyfully find ways and means to find out more about our faith, as well as being willing and enthusiastic in sharing our faith with others, while building a relationship with God and with others. Some of us are like the second kind of infants, and we seem to only know how to complain or grumble. When we don't get what we want, we kick up a fuss and create a ruckus. Some even begin to leave and go to some other denomination or even follow a different faith, feeling angry or disillusioned when things don't go our way. Some of us are like the third kind of infants, looking sleepy and fed up, or not interested in or bothered about anything. When asked to help out, some may shy away or do without any interest or enthusiasm.

Perhaps we should take a good look at ourselves. Are we falling more into one of these "kind of infants"? Have we been like one kind or another at different times of our lives? When we were baptised, we were given the Holy Spirit. May we utilise the Holy Spirit in our lives, and with enthusiasm, joy and curiosity grow closer to God, while we grow in love and friendship with others. Baptism was the start of Jesus' ministry, and He showed us many examples of how we ought to fulfil our duty as Christians. Let us not delay and do our part, for the greater glory of God.

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