BlogFam - So much has happened since the last time I posted and I thank you for your patience and your prompts. I have two more posts in #theSHIFT series and then we will move on. However, this post is not one of them. LOL! Today, I want to share with you a reflection on my first baptism. YES, I said my FIRST baptism.
Let me testify.
YES, I have already been to the water. I was baptized by my Father and godfather in the pool of Midway Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. I remember being scared and excited at the same time. I did not know what to expect. I did know that I could not swim and I did not want them to let me go when they dipped me in the water. I knew that this was a special moment. My grandmother made a white baptism gown with a matching hat just for me and at that age, of course, I did not think it was all that cute, but I wore it anyway. I also did not think that I would be standing in the pool decades later baptizing a little girl who was the age I was when I was baptized.
On, Tuesday, May 31, I participated in my first baptism. It was the very first time that I put on a white baptism robe and walked down the steps of a baptism pool as an adult for the purpose of baptizing another one of God's children. When pastor first asked me if I wanted to do so a few months prior, I readily said YES! I had dreamed of what it would be like to participate in this holy ordinance of the church and I was not going to let this opportunity pass me by. I said YES! And I was so excited about what this would mean for me and for the girl we knew we were to baptize.
I prayed and I fasted to prepare myself to be fully present in the moment. I did not want to miss anything about it and I wanted to be spiritually ready for it. My preparation reminded me of the time I was on schedule to serve Holy Communion for the very first time. I remember being excited yet so humbled that I would have the opportunity to serve the elements representing the body and blood of Christ. The first time I was on the schedule to serve Holy Communion, there was a storm on that Sunday morning and I was driving slowly because I could barely see the road. But I was determined to get to church. I was driving from a longer distance than usual due to me having stayed overnight with family who lived farther than my usual drive. Nevertheless, I was set on pressing my way to church to put on my white gloves and stand behind the table and share this meal in remembrance of Him. Well, I got to church late. Service had not begun but the morning meeting was over and my duties had been reassigned. I totally understood but my heart was broken. I had been looking forward to this moment for so long. The moment came. I missed it. Tears filled my eyes as I quietly sat in worship feeling like I had missed a moment to meet the Lord and experience His glory in a new way. THANK GOD for two services!!! At the end of the first service, the Executive Elder came to me and said that one of the other seasoned ministers said I could take their place at the second service. And my heart filled with JOY again! I was already there. I was already ready.
When I stood in that space, I was nervous but I was just overwhelmed with gratitude as I recalled everything I had gone through and was going through at the time. It cost me a lot to stand there and I did not take it for granted. It cost Jesus so much more... I have served Holy Communion many times since then but I will never forget my first time.
I will never forget my first baptism. I will never forget the tears that came to my eyes as I sat there listening to the Pastor pray about the significance of this moment in the lives of the two young believers who were getting baptized, our connection to the church universal, and the public witness that baptism represents to all that: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
As I approached the baptism pool, I was taking deep breaths and trying to stay calm because I did not want to be out of order in any way. I walked down the steps into the pool. The water was comfortable, just right actually. It was not too cold and it was not too hot. It was just right. Then it was time for the first candidate. She told the pastor her full name and she came into the pool, stood in the center of the pool, and placed her hands across her chest. Pastor had already told me that I could immerse them by myself and he would give the pronouncement. I placed my hand on her back and I covered her nose. Now let me say this. Baptism training was not part of my seminary education. I had no training on how to immerse anyone so I just did what I had experienced when my daddy baptized me and what I had observed in my many, many years of going to church. I placed my hand on her back and covered her nose. Then I heard my cue... We baptize you in the name of the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit. On cue, I gently immersed my young sister in Christ and brought her up. It was so quick. It was so wonderful. We repeated the same for the second candidate. My friend said I was smiling the whole time. I am glad that my first baptism experience was baptizing two children for their size and for their significance to the kingdom of God. How special it was! Let me add that it was so special, that after the baptism service was over, I was just standing in the pool, smiling and feeling happy and pastor had to tell me it was time to go! "Reverend, I know you are basking in the glory of the water, but it is time to get out so I/we can change!" LOL!
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
I am pretty sure that I will never forget my first baptism just as I have never forgotten my first time serving Holy Communion. I pray that the Lord will continue to create opportunities for me to participate in the life of the church in these ways. I pray that I will never lose my sense of awe and wonder when I am able to lead and share in these amazing moments of God's grace remembered and revealed.
GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!