Friday, September 12, 2008

Devo's with David deSilva - Part 1, Baptism

Thanks to IVP-USA, I'm currently reading through David deSilva's Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through the Book of Common Prayer (which I mentioned earlier here) and enjoying it immensely. Part 1 is about "Baptism: Walking in Newness of Life". There are ten sections covering various aspects of baptism including union with Christ, new birth and new life, a new exodus, the promise to live out our baptism in real life, and the sevenfold prayer for the baptismal life. Let me give three highlights:

First, in terms of baptism as a means of togetherness, he quotes Justin Martyr: "As many as are persuaded and believe that the things we teach and say are true, and undertake to live accordingly, are instructed to pray and ask God with fasting for the remission of their past sins, while we pray and fast them." Those who prepare for baptism are already surrounded by the encouragment and support of the Christian community who join with them in their preparation as a sign of the way in which they will continu to be involved in one another's spiritual journey toward maturity.

Second, on living out the baptismal life, deSilva notes on evangelism: "The Reverend Dr. D.T. Niles, Sri Lankan evangelist and one-time president of the World Council of Churches, penned the now-famous quotation 'Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread'. Evangelism need not be conceptualized as taking people down a prefabricated four-point path to salvation. It is, rather, our sharing with others what we have found in God, inviting others into our experience of God's grace so that they, in turn, might have an opportunity to encounter more of God's grace".

Third, deSilva invites reflection on the sevenfold prayer of the baptismal life found in the BCP:

Deliver them, Lord, from the way of sin and death.
Open their hearts to your grace and truth.
Fill them with your holy and life-giving Spirit.
Keep them in the faith and communion of your holy Church.
Teach them to love others in the power of the Spirit.
Send them into the world it witness to your love.
Bring them to the fullness of your peace and glory.

And deSilva suggests changing "they" to "me" and "their" to "my" as we pray the prayer ourselves.

1 comment:

Matthew D. Montonini said...


Glad to see your thoughts on David's new book!