Monday, May 28, 2007

Baptism



I love baptisms. I'd baptize every day if I could. And every age too, not just babies. I'll always remember the Sunday I had five baptisms -- 1 infant, 1 four year old, 2 third graders and a 5th grader. It was the most fun I'd had in a long time. Another baptism party involved 5, with three from one family, in our church's small chapel service on a Saturday night. Unlike some Saturday night services, this one is traditional, and mostly attended by older people. So we had these five children being baptized, of all ages, and one of the little boys could not sit still. He was checking out behind the chancel in his spare time, and his parents looked a little overwhelmed (they had two others to keep track of). After the baptism, he said in a loud voice, "That was fun! I like baptizing!" I'll always remember that too.

I remember the Sunday afternoon I went over to a hospice care center to baptize a woman who was dying of brain cancer. She was about 40, and had three children, who were carrying around bouquets of dandelions. I tapped her on the shoulder to wake her up, said a brief prayer and spread the water on her forehead in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Then she said, in a loud voice, "That was great!" She died two hours later.

Yesterday we had a baptism at church. A baby just under one year old, quintessential Scandinavian baby, square jar, deep blue eyes, no hair even now, and completely charming. She waved and pointed to people all during the baptism. Her great-grandparents are members of my congregation. They transferred over when their own church closed. Great-grandpa sings in the choir, and was wearing red.

The parents and great-grandchild do not know so many people in the church. After the baptism, we always have the parents and godparents share the peace (and the baby) with the congregation. About two-thirds of the way down the aisle, all of a sudden, mother and baby stopped and gave an older couple a big hug. My first thought was, "That's odd. They're not related." And then I remembered: this older couple also came from that small church that closed. They had probably known this woman since she was a little girl.

That's why we baptize in church services. Because, as I had forgotten for a moment, we are related.

Maybe that's why I love baptisms.

5 comments:

Leah said...

Wonderful Blog--oh, how I love baptisms, too! The sacraments in general are one of my most persistent blog topics. Have a great rest of today, from overcast (May Gray) San Diego.

Marsha said...

What wonderful memories you create Diane, not only for yourself but for those you are serving.

I was baptized in the Methodist church at age 12 and then again in the Jordan River almost three years ago on a trip to Israel. What an experience that was, as well as taking communion at several places identified with Christ's earthly journey.

I love witnessing baptism as it holds such promise for new life, regardless of the age of the one being baptized.

Diane said...

Marsha I love your images...I'd love to go to Israel someday.

Barbara B. said...

your story of the baptism at the hospice care center was poignant (and powerful)

Scott Dahlquist said...

As a member of your congregation I really liked this entry. When my confirmation group was talking about baptism I mentioned that both of my sons had been baptized at different churches. My oldest at my grandmother's Lutheran chruch and my youngest at my mother's chruch where I had been confirmed. So even though none of us were baptized at Woodlake, we are all part of a larger family.