Enter into this time of prayer.

Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage.

Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Feel your torso expand. Breathe out slowly.

Thank God for the gift of Life inside of you.

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Jesus answered, “I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8

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I was raised in the Christian tradition of infant baptism. Little babies, asleep or crying, sprinkled with lukewarm water by a stranger in a black, scratchy robe, while the congregation looked on with delighted and meaningful smiles.

Many years went by before I began to question the tradition. What in the world can baptism mean to a baby who has no idea what’s going on and will have no memory of it? My tradition taught me this: infant baptism reminds us that God chooses us before we have any way of knowing God ourselves. God doesn’t need our awareness or our memory to draw us into the circle of God’s eternal embrace. Jesus says: “God's Spirit blows wherever it wishes.” This is the God that knit us together in our mother’s womb and whose Spirit moves over the waters and through our lives from places unknown to destinations as yet unrevealed.

While I have come to love the sacrament of baptism at any age, I cherish those moments when the babe-in-arms is presented, unknowing and yet known, to be “born again from above.”

Sarah McCaslin

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God, who knit me together in my mother’s womb, thank you for choosing me first and choosing me again each passing day. May I endeavor to step forward and accept your choosing and live gratefully in being known and loved by you. Amen.

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God’s one-of-a-kind job description is that God actually uses our problems to lead us to the full solution. God is the perfect Recycler, and in the economy of grace, nothing is wasted, not even our worst sins and our most stupid mistakes.

Richard Rohr in A Lever and a Place to Stand (2012)

Sarah McCaslin

Sarah McCaslin is a licensed psychotherapist and ordained Presbyterian pastor in New York City.

Come, Thou Almighty King

John Morton

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