Monday, November 2, 2009

In the Name of The Father.....

My son was baptized yesterday! Last month he said he learned about baptism and was thinking about it. My husband and I impressed upon him how important that was and what it meant, and in the process I think we scared him or gave him the idea we weren't in approval of it. So, he decided he had questions and until he got the answers he wouldn't be baptized. I tried to ask what were the questions, to address them but he had a hard time articulating them. Finally, this week, he decided that yes; he wanted to be baptized. He knew what it symbolized, he knew what he was doing. He was ready.

As a parent, I must say that it was thrilling watching the kids get baptized. One child could barely make eye contact with the crowd and yet she was the only one that spoke when asked if she had something to say. Her comment? "I just want let everyone know how much I love Jesus!". And it showed. The person who spoke about her said she was already the first to pray in any situation and that she was a quiet, gentle person. It was beautiful.

All the other kids were precious as well. One girl was baptized by her daddy. It was a truly tender moment; I have a picture of their embrace; her wet face smiling happily in her daddy's arms. Truly touching.

My own child's face just radiated joy. He seemed excited and so ready. He did not speak, which may have been a good thing because he can talk FOREVER. His children's pastor said that he was such an "engineer type". I'm not sure what "type" he is, but I do know that I'm glad he was baptized today.

After that they dried off, changed clothes, had the rest of their message and then they cranked the music way loud and threw so much confetti I felt like I was on a TV show or something! Wow! The kids LOVED it; so much fun and celebration. As I was walking today with a friend that saw my photos on Facebook, she commented that it looked like so much fun. Quite a difference from the solemn, sacred affair she'd done in her youth. I agreed with her; my experience was also a far cry from what transpired yesterday. A part of me is excited that it was so memorable and such a celebration, party atmosphere, and part of me wonders why it was separate from the rest of the congregation? I think that the rest of the church would've loved seeing these young kids, fervent in their faith. I think it would have been encouraging and inspiring. We talked about persecution and fruit in "big church" and I think that watching the baptism later in Kid's Church just reinforced the message to me: Fruit grows; it develops. It's exciting to see the kids in church grow in God and develop in His character. And persecution? These kids were ready; they wanted to show the world no matter what the cost that they were following Christ. They knew what they were doing, aware that they were making a decision to proclaim and follow Christ no matter what the cost. When I think of persecution I do think of other countries, but I also know that my times of greatest faith and greatest "persecution" was at school when I was a child. It saddened me a bit that the rest of church was perhaps oblivious to the kids being baptized that same morning. (though I do wonder if they heard the noise and the music afterwards! It was so loud!)

I keep reminding myself that things don't have to be the way I did it to be "right" or "valid". I was baptized in front of the whole congregation. It was a solemn experience, yet joyful at the same time. But serious. I knew what it meant. I think Conor's experience was a bit different: his experience was one of joyful celebration yet I know he knew the seriousness of what he was doing as well.

In the end, I'm happy with how it all played out. I still wish I could have shared it with the whole congregation. This was the first baptism I've seen in the last 15 years. It seems no one gets baptized anymore. (which begs the question: Does the Church welcome "unsaved" people through it's doors or are we all baptized believers already?)

I still have questions. I wonder about baptizing young kids; will Conor look back and think that he did it because his friends did it? Will he look back and think he was a child when he made that commitment and it wasn't as valid as when adults choose baptism? We are invited to have faith like a child but I know that his faith will grow and develop..... is it right to forgo baptism until one thinks they are "grown" enough? That they understand enough? If that's the case people will be getting rebaptized all the time; as God is constantly growing us, revealing things, drawing us closer. I just wonder about these things. I suppose there was a part of me that did think that Conor should wait but now I'm glad he did not. He's knows what it meant; he is serious.

It was truly a special time. I'm not sure I would have watched if it wasn't my child being baptized yet I left there feeling energized and blessed by viewing all the young kids being baptized and their stories of faith. I don't know why but it just seemed so real to me; so exciting. It totally affirmed the message that morning on persecution and evidence in one's Christian faith, and it was just exciting to see such young kids in love with Jesus, knowing that this is just the tip of the iceberg for them!

And for me.

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