Is Baptism Your Next Step?
On May 21st, Wellspring will be having baptisms during both the 9am and 11am services, and they will be an amazing, worshipful and celebratory time for the whole Wellspring family. Whether as one in the congregation or as a baptism candidate, I’d like to personally invite you to be there.
Also, if you think you might like to be baptized, please respond to Tori (firstname.lastname@example.org). On Sunday, May 7th, 11am in the Conference Room, Wellspring elder Nancy Riley will be leading a comfortable, conversational class to talk more about what baptism means and cover all the steps needed to prepare you for baptism.
Following Jesus is a lifelong journey, but the initial steps we take in the direction of Christ can start from anywhere. For some of us, it’s something that happens in a single moment, in a single prayer. I know people who can name the date, place, and hour in which they decided to be a follower of Jesus. Others of us have lived in and walked in all kinds of directions, with and without God, and one day realized that God’s love and hope actually is for all things and that we are and want to take part in. Others still have a story a bit like my own. My very first memory was being held in my father’s arms during a thunderstorm and taught how to pray to Jesus for protection when I was scared. As I grew up, I processed what this meant personally, relationally, academically, and a hundred other different ways. With each lesson and question, I explored more of who God is and what God’s goodness actually meant for the world, but I have no memory of not believing in and wanting to follow Jesus.
These paths are unique, just as each of our stories are unique, but all of our paths and stories are knit together in Christ. As individuals, we make the choice to follow Jesus but it is an endeavor that we undertake as a community. The dynamics of this exchange mean everything, and it’s a big part of the reason that baptism is such a big deal. Baptism is a highly symbolic act. Going under the water represents the death of one’s old self and coming up represents one’s resurrection in Christ. The act represents a person’s desire to live as a follower of Jesus, which scriptures call “a disciple,” and the life of a disciple is necessarily lived in and among others who have chosen to follow Jesus. This is why baptism is about the individual, but also about the community he or she is a part of.
The Gospel of Luke has some very strong words about this transformation. Answering a question, Jesus says, “[A]ny of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple,” and just before this Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” Here Jesus isn’t saying that family is bad, but he is saying that as a disciple of Jesus, our allegiance lies with him. Within the amazing and totally encompassing love of God, we partner with God, giving God our hearts, minds, and even our bodies. We join with other disciples of Jesus. Through this act and our lives, we contend for Jesus and the Kingdom of God that he brought with him. That is to say, in following Jesus, God’s goodness touches and changes the world, pushing back against chaos, death, and destruction. These are giant themes–we’re literally talking about good and evil, and they touch all the parts of our individual lives and community.
Baptism is a beautiful act, and it captures all of these dynamics in a single moment. Hope to see you there!
Peace and love,