This is My St. John’s! by Sanjiv Jaswal

My baptism at St. John’s in early January 2012 was a truly uplifting and memorable experience for me. It is not so easy to put into words. I am grateful to Tom and Chase for their heartfelt participation and graceful handling of the day, and blessed to have been able to share the experience with my beautiful wife and daughters, Amy, Emily and Annie, and many friends. In the process leading up to it, Tom suggested Tokens of Trust by Archbishop Rowan Williams, a book I found extremely helpful for an “advanced beginner” such as myself. I think I have read it about three times already. What I’ve found touching is how many parishioners have commented to me on the uplifting spirit of the event, and several observed that each baptism they witness is an opportunity for renewal in their own lives.

The fellowship and community we share at St. John’s is something I truly value and I believe is very special. Until I was 8, I lived in England, and I have fond memories of my grandmother and I attending weekly gurdwara (Hindu church) services in which the sermon was followed by prashad (a sacred pudding eaten after the sermon). I parallel this in my mind with the ‘Eucharist’, or Thanksgiving. When we receive bread and wine at Communion, we are nearest the very heart of what it is to be a Christian and to be the Church, as the Archbishop puts it. I wholeheartedly agree.

The process also reminded me how sad it would be to go through life without the simple opportunity to be part of a community. A few years ago, Tom started a sermon with the simple opening sentence “Welcome, all of you strugglers.” His remarks that day reminded me that no matter what our circumstances, we all have struggles large and small, and within the church we are a community in which we share, reflect, and pray together. And it is a reminder to me that God’s love is unconditional, unselfish and constant.

One remark I thought poignant and simply put by Archbishop Williams is “Baptism is an event in which the ‘sharing between holy people’ comes to light and we see what the Church really is, a community in which people are constantly being brought into new life by being given a new relationship with God and each other.”

We have an opportunity to share in a life with Jesus, and are invited to eat with Him and pray to the Father with Him in Holy Communion. I feel privileged and blessed to have been invited.

— Sanjiv Jaswal