Even the radicals and the revolutionaries among us know that there are pay offs we’ve silently taken that will have to be relinquished if we are going to follow Jesus into a future beyond empire, into a commonwealth without kings, into a body in which we are all precious and beloved, and none of us is expendable.
Baptism is a vocation drenched in promises. In it we invite those who desire to live a Christian life to notice, name and resist all the forces in this world that rebel against the nature and character of God — to set themselves at odds with a world that privileges profit over people, that preaches scarcity in the midst of profligate abundance, that cultivates fear between people created to live in community. We ask them to do this knowing that it will cost them something, and that in some cases it may cost them everything. That’s right. In baptism we call one another to die, and to die over and over again, to patterns of life designed to support the individual at the expense of the community — except, in this case, we’re not balancing the needs of the one against the needs of the many, but the needs of the whole, the needs of all. A call to love not only our friends and our neighbors, but our enemies.