The power of our baptism

Published 4:56 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

By Nathan Decker

One thing’s for sure, in the war between freedom and fear, our side is going to have better T-shirts.”

– Dave Winer, American Scientist

Anyone who knows me knows I love wearing T-shirts. In fact at least 3/4 of my closet is T-shirts. Most of them have something on them. There are shirts I’ve been given as a part of runs. Other shirts have to do with mission trips or conference events. It is actually pretty rare that I buy a T-shirt just for the shirt. But this year I did. I purchased a T-shirt that simply said “Resisting Evil, Injustice, and Oppression in whatever forms they present themselves” in beautiful rainbow colors.

Little did I know how powerful a T-shirt can be. I recently went on a trip to Kansas City for a training event. Because I like to be comfortable, I wore my T-shirt. Three people on the plane stopped me as I boarded the plane. “That’s an awesome shirt,” one guy said. Another one asked me where I had gotten it. The third was my favorite: “Dude, where’d you get that shirt?” The woman I sat next to also commented on the shirt, asking me to explain what it meant. It didn’t stop there. The Uber driver asked me about it. When I checked in at the hotel, the hotel manager and I got into a deep conversation, all because of my shirt.

What was amazing is that most people didn’t connect what my shirt said with faith. The woman on the plane actually said, “If a church really cared enough about the world to try to change it, I’d be a part of that!” When the hotel manager and I conversed, I mentioned to him how this was a phrase we in the United Methodist church use as a part of our baptism promises. He found this so beautiful that he told me that he was going to try church this Sunday for the first time in his life.

In our baptism we promise to do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. When we live it out, amazing things can happen. People take notice that we are trying to make the world a better place (who doesn’t want that?). The community sees that we take our faith seriously, and because if that, it impacts how we live our lives. When we live out our faith, amazing things can happen … like a T-shirt becoming an opportunity for evangelism. Live out the promises made at your baptism, and see what wonderful ways God blesses you and our community this week. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

John baptized with a baptism by which people showed they were changing their hearts and lives. It was a baptism that told people about the one who was coming after him. This is the one in whom they were to believe. This one is Jesus.”

– Paul in Acts 19:4

NATHAN DECKER is the pastor of High Street United Methodist Church. Contact him at 562-3367.