Baptism reflection

Written by Joel on June 20th, 2011

It was a warm Sunday afternoon, but the water was cold. All of County Line Church was gathered together at the Mill Creek (of course, we sang “Shall We Gather at the River?”) for a Pentecost baptism at the Tusing farm.

This was the culmination of a multi-generational baptism class – our opportunity to receive new members, to celebrate the forgiveness of sins, and live the Great Commission given by Christ to “baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” It was the first baptism I performed. It was the first full-immersion baptism many church members have ever seen.

I was overjoyed to see the look of excitement in the young people’s eyes; and to hear the loud “Whoa!” as they felt the full force of the life-giving baptismal water. Their mom and dad were proud, and they were in the water too. Church members were proud, excited, and energized to see young people saying “yes” to church membership in a generation where that is so rare. I could feel the Body of Christ expand that day.

We had an impromptu hymn sing while waiting for folks to change into dry clothes. “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” Other hymns too, but I’m not sure because I got wet too.

We celebrated Holy Communion. When I offered them the Bread, I looked the newly baptized in the eye and declared “The Body of Christ,” and they said amen – because that is what they are; that is what they received. The two newly baptized young people then served the bread and the cup to the rest of the Body of Christ; also sharing the same declaration. They served their parents, and they all shared a smile.

We sang. Outside, no piano, and no printed music for the communion liturgy. And we sounded great! We sang from a place deep in our hearts, with real and honest joy. Gifts and cards were given to the newly baptized. I gave them the printed liturgy book I used for the occasion (it was from The Book of Common Prayer – I love the language of the prayer book). They stayed and ate some more picnic food, spent some more time outdoors, more sharing in the new life in Christ.


 

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