Today was one of those moments in the life of ministry where you just wish you could capture and bottle whatever it is that brings a moment to life.
It his ‘Baptism of our Lord’ Sunday, the Sunday after Epiphany when we remember the baptism of Jesus. Today’s reading was taking from Matthew 3:13-17 and the focus of the service and sermon was on declaring Jesus’s baptism as a huge “I love you” from God the Father to God the Son, and also declaring it as a launchpad from which Jesus’s public life and ministry took off. I invited a response to the sermon in the form of having our people to remember their own baptisms by coming forward during the singing of our closing song and dipping their hands in the baptismal font in our church. Before transitioning fully into the final song, I paused for a moment and was struck by the thought that there might be some folks there who had never been baptized before. In a quite uncharacteristic moment (I would normally like to prepare a person for baptism a little more than what happened this morning) I opened the invitation up and offered to baptize anyone who came forward and made their request known.
5 people came forward for baptism. A family of 4 (Dad and three children – Mom had already been baptized) and another lady who has been a Christian for years but had never been baptized. I asked each of them if they had heard and known for themselves that they are loved by God, just as they are, and then I asked if they would give themselves, from this moment, to following Christ’s call on their lives. All answered affirmatively and just like that we had baptized five adults at our regular Sunday morning service.
It was not planned. It just happened.
Sometimes that is just how the Holy Spirit works – and I am glad that i serve in a ministry where I get to see that happening.
In a world in which seems to dictate that I am so often blogging about the atrocities that have taken place, and how things just don’t seem to be right, it is just completely and absolutely lovely to be able to write briefly about this.
God is at God’s work in the world. Sometimes we see that from a distance, and other times we see it up close. I saw it up close today – and it was good!