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The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston

The Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston is senior pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York, NY.

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Presbyterian Church (USA)

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Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York, NY


Dr. Scott Black Johnston: One More Resolution

January 12, 2011

Made any New Year's Resolutions?

According to surveys, the most frequent resolutions made by Americans include:

  • Get out of debt.
  • Exercise more & lose weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Get organized.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Find love.

One internet poll claims that the most common resolution for 2011 is:

  • Spend more time with family and friends.

What are your resolutions?

As you put the final touches on your 2011 list, I want to suggest one addition. It's not terribly hard. It's basically a string you can tie around your finger. I've already (metaphorically speaking) "tied one on" myself.

In 2011, I resolve to remember my baptism.

Every day, I intend to remember my baptism.

Does that sound odd? After all, some of us were baptized as infants and have no real recollection of being doused "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." To others, it is an event that happened so long ago that it has no more significance than a trophy gathering dust on the back shelf of our hall closet. "Sure, I did that, but what does it mean anymore?"

That is, of course, one reason for making a resolution. Martin Luther and John Calvin, the initial Protestant reformers, frequently encouraged their congregants to "remember their baptisms." In doing this, they were asking people to think about their identity.

Who am I?

There are lots of ways to answer that question.Yet, for Calvin, Luther and other Christians, one answer has consistently floated to the surface: "I am a child of God, claimed in the waters, loved by my Creator, washed free from sin, empowered to pursue sacred purposes in the world. I am one of the baptized."

What might happen if we began every day that way? Splashing water in the sink, looking in the mirror, saying aloud, "Remember, you are baptized." What might it mean for how we view ourselves and how we treat those around us?

Will you join me? Tie a string around your finger. Remember ... every day, remember ... you are baptized.

[Taken with permission from "Sharp About Your Prayers," the blog of the Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnston. Originally posted 1/7/2011]


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