Baptizing people has always been on the top of my list for pastoral duties, but doing it in a public lake is even better. Yesterday Grace Christian Fellowship braved rough weather to celebrate a dunking at Haithco Park in Saginaw, and it was great. Here are six reasons baptisms flip my switch:
The excitement of going public. Even grouping up as a church on a public beach causes a scene, and there is a certain thrill in the outing of our faith.
The awkwardness of the moment. Let's face it, the whole experience borders on the odd: a man grabs a person by the neck and arms and offers some ritual words and plunges them backward into the water and pulls them out again and everybody cheers. It's weird, and it's weirder out in the middle of the world. And that makes it specialer. (If I can use "weirder," I can use "specialer").
The display of new faith. Most of the time a baptism happens because somebody has recently given themselves whole hog to Jesus. It is exhilarating.
Joy, joy, and joy.
The visible expression of real grace. Communion is a quiet, usually somber time to reflect on the cost of grace, but baptism punches all the celebration buttons; invite the family, your neighbors, bring out the food, splash in the water, make some noise, and PARTY! It is an earthly reflection of the heavenly party that happens when God redeems one of his own. (See Luke 15)
It's flat-out contagious. Baptism sparkles up the reality of grace in real time, and the bubbles spread around like champaign to tickle spiritual noses all over the place.