This afternoon at the rehearsal for tomorrow’s baptism I was surprised when two families members are deaf. More than twenty years ago, before seminary, our neighbor’s two sons were deaf, so I had some experience. What little sign language I had picked up was gone. But I did remember to always look directly toward them.
I am used to making eye contact when preaching, teaching, leading a discussion, making a presentation. But this is both different and not. It is different in that I am making eye contact with someone for them; else where I make eye contact at least in part for me.
And here we come across a key element of Baptism. We gather for the person being baptized. Not for the Church. Not for ourselves. Actually it’s a key element of all Christ based relationships, for all Jesus actions are for God, or are for us, all humanity, all creation, never for himself. (Even his drawing aside to pray and recharge is eventually for God and us.) What would the world look like if everything we did was for the other person?