• Michelle Whitlock

The Priviledges and Responsibilities of Membership


About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” -Mark 1:9-11



Jesus’ baptism revealed his identity as the Son of God. In this moment, God’s presence was made known on earth. Jesus was claimed by God in baptism, and so are we. Our United Methodist baptismal liturgy begins with the words…


Through the Sacrament of Baptism

we are initiated into Christ's holy Church.

We are incorporated into God's mighty acts of salvation

and given new birth through water and the Spirit.

All this is God's gift, offered to us without price.


In our baptism, we share in Jesus’ baptism. In our baptism we become members of the Body of Christ. What a privilege to experience God’s presence in our lives. What a privilege to be part of this covenant community. What a privilege to renew our baptismal vows together…


On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you:

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,

reject the evil powers of this world,

and repent of your sin?

I do.


Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you

to resist evil, injustice, and oppression

in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.


Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,

put your whole trust in his grace,

and promise to serve him as your Lord,

in union with the Church which Christ has opened

to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.


...and what a responsibility to live them out.


Just as John baptized Jesus in the midst of a broken, troubled world, the Spirit sends us out into a broken troubled world.


This week, I watched as a violent mob forcibly entered the capitol for the first time since the war of 1812. I’m not afraid to name Wednesday’s events as a form of evil and injustice. Let me be clear, I will love and listen to anyone I don’t agree with, because I believe we learn from each other when we have open conversations. But I will also hold people accountable for their actions. Whatever our political opinions, our membership ID, our baptism, gives us the privilege of God’s presence among us and but also the responsibility to name the injustice and brokenness we see in our world.


We have a responsibility to love all God’s children.


We have the responsibility to pray: president and vice-president, for president-elect and vice-president elect, for republicans and democrats, for healing and unity, for safety and security in the coming weeks.


We have a responsibility to respond to Wednesday’s events in some way. We cannot pretend it didn’t happen and we can not make excuses for the behavior of the crowd. Respond in whatever way you see fit, but do not fail the responsibility we have to resist evil and injustice.


Our membership ID, our very baptism, claims us as children of God. That membership, like any other, comes with both privileges and responsibilities. How will we live out our membership in the Body of Christ.



For more information....

Read the complete baptismal liturgy here.

View a slide show from inside the Capital on Wednesday January 6, 2021.

No reporting or commentary. Just images from Reuters.



***I disabled commenting for this post because it is not intended as a political debate. Please call the office or contact me by email if you would like to discuss the post.

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