Wednesday of Pentecost 17 – Psalm 54

1 O God, save me by your name,
    and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer;
    give ear to the words of my mouth.

For strangers have risen against me;
    ruthless men seek my life;
    they do not set God before themselves. Selah

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies;
    in your faithfulness put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
    I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
    and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of holding a baby girl in my hands while I poured the waters of Baptism. That is an incredibly powerful experience for those of you who have not had it. As I poured that water over her head, I recited the ancient words, “I baptize you into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Did you catch the preposition there? It is terribly important; I baptize “into” the name. That rite, both water and Word, placed that fresh and young life into the mighty and loving name of God.

Now, when she prays, God will always hear her prayers. He has promised to hear her as a child. She may pray, “our Father” and it is no metaphor. God has adopted her. He gives ear to the words of her mouth. He is always near to hear her prayer.

She will face enemies in her life. They will seek her life in a variety of ways. One day they will succeed. Will it be some disease or heart failure? Will it be violence or an accident? I do not know, but I know it will happen to her as it will happen to me. I pray it is a gentle death after a life full of joy, family, love, and service.

No matter when death comes for her, however, I know that God will have been her helper and the upholder of her life. Those who accost her will not do so with impunity. God will have vengeance upon them and return their evil upon their heads. He is precious to God now. She is in His Name, I know because through water poured out of my hands and words spoken by my voice, God put her there. 

Though she dies, she will be unharmed, even though she lay in a grave. For that baptism made another promise to that little girl that day. With a free will she will offer her sacrifices to God once more. She will give thanks to God’s name because it is a good name that has stood her well. He will deliver her from every trouble, including sin, death, and satanic foes. She will look upon them all in the triumph of resurrection. That is what it means to pour that water on the head of a little girl in baptism. I praise God that he called me to do that. Join me in thanking him for my baptism and yours.

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