My mother was baptized when she was pregnant with me. I don’t remember it but I’m fairly certain that has something to do with my penchant for holy things.
At the age of seven, I was immersed in the holy waters. Believer’s Baptism. Growing up in the church, I often got asked the question, what changed when you became a believer? The only thing I could really point to at that young age was my increased awareness of holy moments. I could better give attention to reverent things.
We made the decision to have our daughter baptized at 16 months old. I hadn’t intended on doing this but our pastor gave a convincing sermon on what infant baptism meant in the life of an individual. While it doesn’t offer salvation, it reminds us of the covenant relationship between God, the child, the parents and the church family to be faithful in raising the child with an awareness of Christ; His life, His death and His resurrection.
So, our pastor sprinkled holy water on our daughter as we promised to raise her up to be a woman of God. We will with His help.
About 18 months ago, I received this email from my mom. She was on a pilgrimage of sorts in the Holy Land.
Hi sweetie, off to Jericho. Baptized last night! Have a good day!
Baptized again, this time in the Jordan River, in her 50’s. I was so jealous. She didn’t do it as an act of receiving salvation. These were holy waters. They had baptized our Lord....
On a Sunday morning more recently, I attended a Methodist church in my small town. I’ve gotten into the habit of sneaking away to attend a worship service there when responsibilities at my home church are light on a particular Sunday. It’s a beautiful sanctuary. Unpretentious in every way. Offers up great worship. The very best Sundays are when they serve warm Communion bread.
Us Protestants have two Sacraments. Moments of particular importance and significance. Communion and Baptism.
This particular Sunday at the Methodist Church, glory be to God, they were offering up both. That morning, they would baptize an infant.
Kari Jobe sings a worship song entitled “When You Walk In The Room.” Simple yet profound lyrics.
When You Walk In the Room,
There’s Nothing Like It.
That’s what I experienced when the parents brought their baby up to be baptized. I didn’t know them in any way. Yet, I knew in that very moment they were choosing God for their family. No, the baby didn’t receive salvation that day but praise God the parents want that for him.
I’ve heard of parents needing to baptize their deceased infant. I’ve watched a grown woman sob because she finally decided it was time to make a public profession of her faith in Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.
For centuries before us and likely until the day Jesus returns, people much smarter than me have been debating when and where and who and how we should baptize. As I consider all the baptisms I’ve witnessed, I’m laying down my part in this argument at the foot of the cross. I’ll take sacred moments whenever I can find them.
Further, I can’t help but wonder (I don't know, I just wonder) if Jesus was still walking this earth as a man and He had the opportunity to mark the beginning of a lifelong relationship with an infant child... He would, of course, present her with a little leather-bound New Testament Bible. Then, perhaps He would sprinkle holy water on her head (no immersion for a little baby!) and with each gentle touch on the forehead, He would speak these words over that child:
I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
If we had on our spiritual listening ears, perhaps we’d even hear God whisper,
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.