3.28.2013

Baptism

bap·tism (noun): A person's initiation into a particular activity or role, typically one perceived as difficult: "his baptism as a politician".

What comes to mind when you think of the word "baptism?" Do you remember your own? Do you wonder what it is? Do you wonder if it's absolutely necessary in order to follow Christ? Do you sometimes feel like you're "less than" because you're not baptized? Do you feel like you need to be baptized again, that you have come to a point in your life where you really are ready to hand your life over to God?

Our answers to these questions might be different, but I know many of us can relate. 

Within the last 5 months or so, I have really become serious about wanting to be baptized. Wow, I never thought I would ever say those words in my life. A year and a half ago, I was, without a doubt an Atheist, and "proud of it." Now, I am SO ready to give my life over to Christ, and to commit eternally to Him in front of the people that have guided me over this time.

Although I saw myself as an Atheist, I still believed in a higher power. I practiced principles of Buddhism, and was fairly well educated on religion. That being said, I felt that all religion did was create problems, cause hate (of other particularly; other religions, sexual minorities, etc.), and create a false sense of security, while at the same time preaching we should love one another. I saw hypocrites. I, in a sense, was ignorant. I judged a group of people upon a few select experiences, experiences that in no way were accurate. One can be very well educated and still not understand something fully until they experience it themselves. [Turns out many people have these misconceptions, a topic I will be writing about soon]! Thankfully, God doesn't hold this against us.

I felt that life should be about GOD (or a higher power) and not an institutionalized religion. To be honest, I still have a hard time with this one. I think one's relationship with God should be central, but I also think the church is an important part of one's relationship with Christ (particularly for fellowship) UNLESS that church is unhealthy. An unhealthy church can become apparent in a number of ways, something I'd be willing to talk more about later if anyone is interested. I'm no expert, but I know that I was a non-believer, and now I'm not. Something changed, and I think a few healthy churches played a huge role in that. 

I believe that change came when I was in Scotland this winter. I found the most amazing non-denominational church, Central, that was exactly what I needed at the time. I have never walked into a room and felt God's presence so much in my life. There were many nights I was in tears, or had goose bumps throughout the entire service. This was particularly the case on the nights we held baptisms. All I could do was cry. I didn't even know many of the people, but I still cried. I couldn't believe the work God had done in these people's lives. To see them committing so publicly to Jesus was so incredibly moving. There were many times I wanted to jump on up there with everyone, times where I felt God pushing me, but I fought it.


This comes back to the vulnerability thing. I didn't feel like I knew Jesus well enough to be baptized. I felt people might think poorly of me, knowing that I had only been coming to church for a little over a year. Seeing me as a "fake" and so on.... I didn't want to make a fool out of myself. I also didn't want to expose the fact that I wasn't already baptized. [I think so many people assume I am. Even my pastors from my home church told me they were shocked when I came to them wanting to be baptized because they already thought I was]. I also felt passionately about being baptized where I first started to get to know Christ, in a Lutheran church. I knew I was growing closer to Christ, but when did I pass the "baptism threshold" to where it became acceptable for me to be baptized?

It took me some time, but now I realize that no one will ever fully know Jesus. We are each at different stages in our relationship with Him, and that's OK! All He asks is that we are willing to commit our lives to Him, to let Him lead us, and to trust in Him no matter what. He WANTS to have a relationship with us. He wants to provide the kind of love that we can only get from Him. I can confidently say I am ready for that. He has been working so much in my life over the past 18 months or so, and I am so excited to show Him that I'm ready!


Tonight I asked a precious couple, Mark and Linda, to be my sponsors/congregational representatives at my baptism this summer. They took me under their wings from day one. Invited me over for dinner, gave me a place to live when I was in a transition, called me just to say hello. They are wonderful people and I am so happy God put them in my lives. I can't wait to stand up there with them and make this commitment!

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Acts 22:16 And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

4 comments :

  1. So great and LOVE the new look!!! :) so simple and pretty! I'm dying to have a re-do on mine but I'm waiting till haver I say I DO... haha!

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    1. Aw, thanks Cassie! I'm sure you'll have much more time to focus on that once things settle down!

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  2. I love this!!! And I totally agree with you about the importance of a healthy church!!! I spent my first 5 years as a Christian in a church that I didn't realise was unhealthy until I left home for University and found a new church. It wasn't til then that I realised how much it had held me back and damaged my relationship with God. I loved being baptised! It's still one of my absolute favourite things to see at church. Such an exciting thing for you
    Francesca x

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    1. Thanks Francesca! It definitely is exciting.

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