The Baptismal Covenant

Our Guest Blogger this week is Nancy Koonce, a member of The Church of the Ascension in Twin Falls, Idaho.  Nancy is a life-long Episcopalian, a CPA, a mom and grandmom, a deputy to General Convention, and a nominee for Executive Council.  To learn more about Nancy go to her website at http://nancykoonce.com/

“. . . . and respect the dignity of EVERY . . . HUMAN . . . BEING?”  The first time I heard Bishop Harry say it that way, I thought, “has that always been there?”  The answer is in fact “No.”  According to Marion Hatchett’s Commentary on the American Prayer Book, the first American Book (1789) asked just one question, “Dost thou believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith, as contained in the Apostles’ Creed?”

Mention the Apostles’ Creed and I have flashbacks to Confirmation class.  If I didn’t memorize it I couldn’t be confirmed, and (in those days) if I wasn’t confirmed I couldn’t take Communion.  Hearing mention of the Apostles’ Creed still causes me some bit of apprehension.

But back to the Baptismal Covenant.  When I was given the opportunity to participate in this blog, I quickly grabbed this date. Those five wonderful questions that replaced the one above – and thank goodness they did – can make a huge difference in our lives if we listen to them and really mean it when we answer, “I will, with God’s help.”  Where the question above is the easy and inert, “Do you believe . . .”, the five we have now call us to action.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers?

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

Will you proclaim by word and example he Good News of God in Christ?

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

It is that last question in particular that I look to for guidance in my daily life. And I’ve added some additional emphases of my own.  Justice and peace for ALL people – not just Americans, not just Christians – ALL people.  And, of course, RESPECT the dignity of EVERY HUMAN BEING – all races, creeds, socioeconomic levels, sexual orientations, education – EVERY . . . HUMAN . . . BEING.

Thank you Bishop Harry.

                                                                                                                                                                  The Rt. Rev. Harry Bainbridge                                                                                      The Twelfth Bishop of Idaho

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