This post is about my baptism. Now, that may come as a surprise to some of you. Well, don’t worry. It won’t surprise you anymore than it surprised me. You see, I started out on this path (spiritually speaking) looking for God. With no idea where to find Him, I’ve wandered through Christianity, out, into Yoga, past Buddhism and Hinduism, around some new-agey no-name stuff, and back to Christianity. Why? Good question. I believe that the answer is because I asked for it. I asked for God to come to me, to reveal Himself (I think I’ve used words like Herself, Universe, Source, Creation, etc…but words are only words so to keep this simple, we’re going to stick with Him) to me and to let me know Him. I also specifically asked for a loving, wonderful group of people to help me know God and – more importantly – that are living the life God intended us to live. I wanted to surround myself with the people that I hope to become.
In answer to my my begging and pleading (prayer just doesn’t seem whiney enough to describe how I felt), I stumbled upon the wonderful people at North End Collective Church. (You can read about that beautiful synchronicity here.) I have felt a deep connection with everyone there and have witnessed people who truly desire to know God at a deeper level and who WALK that walk every day. So I said, “Sign me up!” And the rest, as they say, is history.
If you know me, you know I don’t just skim the surface of something new. I bury myself in it. Wallow around like a pig in mud. Taste, smell, and touch it. I dive in head first and go for it with gusto. And this has been no different. l went from never attending church to attending the Sunday service, the Thursday house church, volunteering on the hospitality committee and the child watch group, AND hosting a weekly women’s Bible study. Cuz that’s how I roll. And I love every minute of it. Every minute of my day (well, the free ones anyway!) are contemplating God, learning about what He wants for me. It’s fantastic. It’s given me so much inner JOY that I could sing. Well, I won’t because apparently loving God doesn’t mean you automatically sound like an angel. :)
So, life was going along just beautifully when one day Bill, the pastor, asked me if I’d be interested in getting baptized. Without much thought or hesitation, I said, “YES!”.
The questions came later. And yes, there were a LOT.
My main concerns were that as a new Christian I would somehow be telling anyone who was not a Christian that they are wrong and I am right, because let’s face it, the Church has been saying that for YEARS. I was assured that this was only a declaration of MY love for God and for Jesus and my desire and willingness to follow THEM. Not a church. This is an outward symbol of something that had already taken place inside.
Ok. I was totally cool with that, and with all of the other little things we chatted about. Then they gave me my homework. WHAT?! Julie (Bill’s wife) asked me to read every scripture I could find about WATER. The significance of it. The beauty and power. See what it means in terms of baptism, but also in other ways. So like the diligent student (read: NERD) that I am, I did exactly that. And this is what I came up with:
- It was there in the beginning.
- It is where first life came from.
- “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” John 3:5
- It is part of physical birth, then spiritual.
- “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.” Eph 5:26 (speaking of the church)
- Water cleanses.
- Jesus washed the disciples’ feet – showing how to serve.
- Water is LIFE to everyone and everything.
- It represents SPIRIT: “draw waters out of the wells of salvation”, “come to the waters”, “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasing life.” (direct quotes from various Bible verses)
- THE SEA – represents restlessness and tribulation in the Bible. In Rev 21 it says, “there was no longer any sea.” Meaning there’s no more chaos and tribulation as we know now. In three verses Jesus calmed the sea.
- Destruction. Flood. Waves.
- And last, DEATH. Many people physically die in water. Through baptism, we can have a spiritual death, and also a rebirth.
I sent this off to Julie and Bill and then waited with some trepidation for the day to come. I wasn’t nervous about actually being baptized – I was actually feeling very at peace with my decision. I had spent more time questioning and researching for this moment than I ever did for my marriage. So I was ready. But I was going to have to speak. In front of everyone. AGAIN.
I decided to rib Bill just a bit when I began my speech – the topic being “Why Baptism?”. To begin, I said something like, “There are two things I REALLY don’t like doing. Speaking in front of people. And getting dunked in really cold water. And somehow Bill has managed to talk me into both of these things.”
I got a nice chuckle for that one.
I had made a list of the reasons I wanted to be baptized, but honestly, it felt like a grocery list. Go through, check it off one by one, throw it in the trash when finished. Repeat. It didn’t have any heart and SOUL behind it. One day Ivy told me she also wanted to get baptized and I asked her why. She looked at me as only a 6 year old can, with complete disbelief that you can be such an idiot and said, “Because I love God.”
Oh yeah. THAT’S the answer. And that’s the one I shared. The ultimate one. The reason for everything I’ve been doing. I love God and want to know Him more. Simple enough.
In my research and planning for my pre-Baptism speech I looked for a verse that combined Water and Light – to tie in my previous story with my current one. If you haven’t read that blog, just jump over here. This is what I found:
For with you is the fountain of Life;
In Your light, we see light.
~ Psalms 36:9
And while I was trying to find that, this word came up in the search as well:
Radiant: “to sparkle”, (from the sheen of a running stream).
That is why I got Baptized. To see the Light. To be cleansed and re-born from the Water. To be RADIANT.
A week or so later, Bill asked me if anything had changed. If I felt “different” somehow.
“Yes. I have actually,” I replied.
“How so?” he asked me.
“Well, it’s difficult to explain exactly, but I had set that day as a moment when I WOULD change, I absolutely EXPECTED change. And I got it. I feel more clarity, sometimes a verse will make sense that never has before, or I just KNOW that I need to do something. Our household has been more peaceful and well, everything’s just been better. Behind it all, I think that I have been living INTENTIONALLY, every single day.”
In Love and Light,