Monday, June 27, 2005

The Mystery of Baptism

Our church baptized 25 people last night at our local town pool. This is the fourth time we've done it, baptizing almost 100 people total. Every time we hold a baptism it's always such a special night.

For those of you who think in terms of baptizing infants, that's not what we do. We are baptizing people old enough to make a decision to follow Jesus. The youngest person we baptized last night was seven. There were a few teenagers and then the rest were adults.

The more people I baptize the more I appreciate what it's all about. I think many people see baptism as an odd ritual - archaic, irrelevant. Grown people getting dunked in a pool of water. What kind of God would require such a silly thing?

But I'm seeing more and more what a powerful symbol it is. It transgresses time and culture. It's something that every person can relate to no matter what their language or what era of time they lived. Baptism is a simple "drama" that depicts both cleansing and new life. The water is a place of both birth and death so it's no wonder that God established the ritual to express these two aspects of faith. When a person is baptized they are following in the steps of not only Jesus but millions of people who have committed their life to him throughout the centuries.

I'm always amazed at the enthusiasm that people express when they decide to be baptized as well as during their baptism and after it's over. It's definitely a spiritual "high" for them. I'm also surprised by how strongly they feel God spoke to them to do it. I recently gave a message about baptism and, I'm not sure what, but something I said really grabbed people and impressed upon them that this was something they needed to do. You can download the message: Connecting with God's Story - through Baptism here. Let me know what you think.