Yesterday I had the privilege of baptizing 5 people. Baptism is a outward sign after someone has decided to accept Jesus Christ as Leader and Forgiver in their lives. It represents the inward cleansing of the soul from sin through the mercy gift of Christ. It also represents sharing in the death and resurrection of Christ. I know to many looking in from the outside, it might just seem like dunking someone in a pond but it is a profound and touching experience and I never take my role for granted.
Our baptism services tend to be casual in style though. There is almost always some joking about the temperature of the water, someone slipping a little coming in the pond, and the sound is never good enough so most of those watching can’t hear most of what’s going on. I wondered at one point if some might think we were irreverent in some of our style. Was there something I should be doing it to make it more like what I saw growing up?
That didn’t last long as I thought through the impact of the lives of those being baptised. The changes lives, the strength it took for many in their journey, and the victories they were having in Christ.
I watched joy and victory in the faces of 5 women of faith as they came out of the water. In their pasts were addictions, hurts, broken marriages, struggling relationships with children, jail sentences, hurt from past churches and Christians, parents rejecting them, illnesses of all types, and more. In the present, some of the repercussions of these choices on their parts and choices of others forced on them still resonate. However, the power are these challenges are broken . They have laid them at the foot of the cross and yesterday we got to celebrate as a community the victory of Jesus Christ in the beloved children of God.
So I don’t mind when someone makes a joke about peeing in the pond, the changed lives on their face is the reverence that brings a smile to my Jesus’ face. I am just humbled and honored to be part of their special moment. What a great afternoon!