Approaching the water

I’m preaching on Jesus’s baptism next Sunday at Lighthouse Free Methodist Church. As I prepare, I’m curious about your experience with baptism. What does it mean to you? What does it look like in your tradition (and what is your tradition?)?

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2 responses to “Approaching the water

  1. Having the veritable fruit-basket of traditions I’ve had growing up in the Christian faith, this has always been a tough question to answer simply. However, I’ll tell you what struck us, and why we chose to baptize our infants in the Methodist church before we started going to our local Episcopal parish.

    To us, baptizing our children was a mark on them, given publicly, non-painfully, and spiritually present (though maybe not physically present after their little heads were dry) that showed us, those around us, and our children (in whatever manner they could understand) that we chose to raise them in the Christian faith. It was like opening a door, giving them the chance to have His hand on them from the very start.

    Personally, I was baptized at the age of seven, and I remember swirling skirts, being surrounded by those who believed with me, and the joy of childish abandon to my faith. Other than that, the experience is a blur. Hope this helps.

    SARA

  2. I grew up in the Methodist tradition, which allows for one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. When I was about eight or nine, my church took me to a nearby river in the middle of April and dipped me in at the dock. I remember trying to sink into the water, and the pastor mumbling under his breath, “Let me do it, son.” I never got the feeling that this was something spiritual. Only that it was something that you did because you were expected to. You prayed “the sinner’s prayer,” got dunked, and suddenly you were part of God’s kingdom.

    However, since I’ve gotten a little older, I’ve begun to appreciate baptism as more of a symbol, or ritual cleansing–the ancient Essenes baptized themselves multiple times a day (which makes sense, when considering the overt concern for cleanliness in Jewish custom). I think that modern Christians have placed too much importance on the tradition as a means of grace and not enough emphasis on baptism as metaphor.

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