Please do not reply to this email.
To respond to the devotional, please email
the Rev. Sharron Cox at
Being Marked

You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own for ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, p. 308
I have always loved learning. While I knew I would enjoy the learning process at a seminary, it was this thing about being a priest about which I had doubts! When God finally blew those doubts to shreds, and I found myself in seminary at Sewanee, I loved my studies; I loved learning from my professors, and one of the topics I loved the most was baptism.
Like all sacraments, baptism is challenging in that it does not mean just one thing. Sacraments cram multiple meanings into a few words and actions.[1] Baptism is much more than being washed of our sins and able to join the Church. Yes, in baptism, we are forgiven of our sins and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Yes, as we become one with Christ, we become one with each other and initiated into the Church (Acts 2:41-42). Also in baptism, we are united in Christ’s death and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). That last meaning may seem a bit dramatic to us given how little water we actually use in baptism! However, the water symbolizes how baptism immerses us into the way of Christ, that paschal pattern of our lives that mirror Jesus’ dying to self: suffering, dying and rising to new life. And as we affirm in the Nicene Creed, “We believe in one baptism…” (BCP 359) because we believe that God is at work in baptism, not us. It does not depend upon whether we have repented enough or changed enough. We do not “earn” baptism. Baptism is pure gift, “done” to us by God.
A few years ago, a friend was sharing with me her concern about the choices her daughter was making, the path her child seemed to be taking into adult life that was nearly opposite from how she had raised her daughter. She worried that her child seemed to be abandoning the Church, her faith and even God. I reminded my friend that her daughter has been “marked as Christ’s own forever” through baptism. One thing I know, I told her, is once marked, we cannot un-mark ourselves, we cannot un-baptize ourselves. God, as the “agent” in baptism, is never finished with us.
What does your baptism mean to you? How has your life been “marked as Christ’s own forever?”
[1] Ronald P. Byars, The Sacraments in Biblical Perspective: Interpretation Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), 16.
The Rev. Sharron L. Cox
Associate for Outreach, Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
If you know someone who would like to receive our daily devotions,
please forward your copy to a friend.