This being the first Sunday after Epiphany, many churches set aside today to look at baptism- that of our Lord, and their own. It brings to mind my own. Both of them. And I thought of this journal entry from a couple of years ago.
Stumbling into the Steadfast 1/19/08
On Sunday Cindy invited folks to share their baptism stories as sort of an interactive part of the sermon. All of the stories were of people's own recollections of their baptisms. In other words, Baptist baptisms. Non infant baptisms. I've had one of each, but didn't choose to share either story. I thought about my adult baptism at Deer Park and the lunch that Joy Lee Foley had afterwards for my parents and all of my friends. But on this particular day, it's that first baptism that touches my heart as I think of it. I, of course, have no memory of it myself but have plenty of pictures of it and a tiny pink New Testament signed by the pastor who baptized me to prove that it happened. My parents look very confident and happy in the pictures. I look very clueless. But it mattered. The people of my little church took very seriously the vows they made to me that day, as did my parents. For the second baptism, I had a decision to make and an aisle to walk and a life to surrender. For the first one, I just had to show up. The members of that little church made promises to me that day- and 50 years later I can say that they have kept every one. I have been loved and prayed for and clucked over all my life by the people of Clifton Heights Methodist and later Fern Creek United Methodist. I may have not attended Fern Creek for over 30 years, but they will forever claim me (I hope) and I will forever call it home.
I like to think that that infant baptism “took”, and not because I as a baby understood what it meant, but because the people who loved me did. And that second baptism was, in the end, my own response to the first. Thanks be to God for them both.