During Baptisms, Easter and other special occasions in The Episcopal Church, churchgoers are asked eight questions known as The Baptismal Covenant. It begins as a statement of faith laid out in straightforward question and answer style with questions aren’t all that questionable.
Do you believe in God?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
Then the covenant transitions into questions about how we will live out our faith.
Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching, their fellowship, communion and prayers?
Will you resist evil and return to God when you sin?
Will you proclaim the Good News of God in Christ?
And to these three questions we respond heartily, “I will, with God’s help.”
But then there are the last two questions, which have always been far more radical to me than the six preceding them.
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.
Again, we respond, “I will, with God’s help,” but I’ve always wondered what crosses through folks’ minds as they respond.
These fundamental promises define who we are as Episcopalians. The way in which we live and move and have our being as Christians is deeply embedded in these baptismal promises. We know that seeking and serving Christ in all persons, striving for peace and justice among all people and respecting the dignity of every human being are things we should be doing as followers of Jesus Christ, but, truthfully, I found living out these promises incredibly challenging while working as a parish priest. Read more