Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Sweetest Day....

I was baptized on Sunday. Exciting! Thinking about it makes me feel full; I can't think of a better way to descibe it. Anyway, my baptism was long overdue as I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & savior almost six years ago. I know the word "baptism" means little to some of you (based on the e-mails/chats I've had), so I figured this is a good opportunity to explain it a little more fully. Click on this link for a MUCH better and thorough explanation of baptism.

Baptism occurs when someone is immersed in water as a profession of her religious belief. I was raised Presbyterian, and in that church, they "sprinkle" you with water rather than full immersion (note: I don't know why they sprinkle as opposed to immersing believers). My church called that "confirmation." While I think I may have logically believed at 13 when I was confirmed, I don't think I really believed in my heart. And there's a big difference between thinking something is likely true and believing something in your heart. Based on my readings in the Bible, a proper baptism is belief followed by baptism; thus my "sprinkling" at 13 wasn't a true baptism since I didn't really believe and place my faith in Christ.

That true believing came about ten years later, and it required a leap of faith, which I found very difficult to make. But I wanted to believe, and I finally did. For a more thorough post on how I came to believe what I do, check out this post.

And now, like many before me (which is really cool when I think about Jesus being baptized, etc.), I've been baptized. I chose to be baptized because I believe God wants us to be baptized and that doing so is an act of obedience and a public profession of faith. In order to be baptized at this church, you're asked two questions in front of the congregation (while standing in this huge baptismal pool full of warm water). This isn't verbatim, but here's basically what I was asked:

Has there been a time in your life when you submitted your life to Christ and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior? [I answered yes.]

What is your profession of faith? [I said something to the effect of "After many years of being quite lost [although I certainly didn't think I was lost], I am so glad to profess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior."]

The day was even sweeter because some of my family was there to share it with me. My sister, mother, great-aunt, and nieces all came down, and we had a big slumber party in my one bedroom apartment. A lot of my friends were there, and it was incredibly touching to stand in the baptismal and look out to see so many friendly faces who have encouraged me in my walk with God and been such sources of encouragement and love. And it was fun for my family to meet all of my awesome friends here. I've never had so many wonderful and kind friends, and Sunday was a sweet reminder of how blessed I am.

When the pastor spoke to the congregation about the meaning of baptism, my nieces' eyes were huge. I could tell they were quite overwhelmed by the hugeness of this church and the whole experience. Friends and family have the option of standing alongside the baptismal area, so a few people including my nieces came up. I wish I had a photograph of Lauren leaning against the glass wall of the pool, soaking it all in.

Anyway, it was such a sweet day and experience, and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge. Oh, that was horrible, but I couldn't resist. If you have any questions about baptism, I'll try to answer them. And if you want to share your baptism details, I'd love to read them. And thank you so much for all of your well wishes.

p.s. When I told Oz about wanting to be baptized, he asked me if that meant I would get a bunch of gifts (like a bar mitzvah I guess)...so in case you were wondering, it's not like that:)

11 comments:

Aaron said...

Welcome to the family!

I know we've already had this conversation and all, but I couldn't resist teasing you again. ;)

brookem said...

Congratulations- sounds like a very special, memorable weekend.

allbilly said...

I am glad you and your family were able to enjoy such a special day.

I think it is very important for your nieces to see you go through this experience and what it means to you and how you can share that with them.

I hope you took photos!

cdp said...

Well, being a cradle Catholic, I was baptized as an infant so I don't think I can share any details from my own baptism. But, I loved reading about yours and especially about how involved and engaged your nieces were. As always, I am touched by your faith and by your willingness to share it with us all. I'm so happy for you.

ella w. said...

Yay! So I take it you were dunked into a tub? :) I got off easy - Presbyterian "sprinkle" style/

Jeff Price said...

What an amazing opportunity for you to relish in and “immerse” yourself in the memories of this significant point in your walk with Christ. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy this time with your friends and family, and that they were all able to witness your profession of faith.

My baptism, like others, was as an infant sprinkled in a Catholic church. When my life took a dramatic turn away from God in college and then back towards Him I became a member of a Presbyterian church. Since there is but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5), my baptism in a Catholic church was acceptable to them. The debate over infant versus believer baptism and sprinkling versus immersion has gone on a long time, but fortunately as fellow believers in Christ we can point to a unity in one Holy Spirit.

Just to offer the perspective up here:
Infant baptism is performed as a sign of the covenant for that child whose parent’s are making a promise to raise their child in biblical teaching. Like circumcision (the sign of the old covenant), this is something that marks the bearer of the sign as being a part of the covenant family, not necessarily as a believer. A public profession of faith and fruit of the Spirit is what marks a member of the covenant as a believer and ultimately able to partake in the full benefits of a covenantal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Sprinkling is done because of the freedom in Scriptures to apply either sprinkling or immersion to the sign of the covenant, but those that tend towards immersion also tend towards believer baptism so there must be more of a connection in there somewhere.

For more reformed thoughts on this issue click here.

DCVita said...

Awesome! Congratulations! Kind of ironic too because on Thrusday in my church, we are celebrating the baptism of Christ. ( I am eastern orthodox), so you were baptized the same week as Christ! (at least in recognition). THat is definately something special.

Ally said...

Aaron: Thanks:)

Brookem: Thank you. It was.

Billy: I agree, and I love my nieces' questions about Christianity. Lauren and I had a nice chat about the Nativity scene we saw in someone's yard one day while we were walking. She couldn't understand why God wasn't in it if Jesus was His son. She's a smart three year old!

Cindy: Thanks. It is my pleasure to share.

Ella: Yep, this time around I was leaned back into the pool of water, hair dryer and change of clothes required.

Jeff: Your response is exactly what I was hoping for:) A detailed explanation complete with a link! I think I was christened too.

DCVita: Thank you for sharing that with me. That's a very cool coincidence.

Jeff Price said...

Glad I didn't disappoint ;-) So you were christened, sprinkled and now immersed…hope this one takes! lol

Jordan said...

Congratulations Ally. I'm so glad you had family there to enjoy the sweetest day as well.

kathrynthomas said...

congratulations. that is exciting.