25 Jul “I wanna do that!”
There are certain days in history that will never be forgotten because they held an event with such a tremendous impact on individuals, populations, institutions, government, culture and so on. Events such as these may be hundreds or thousands of miles, or millions of people removed from us, yet still leave a mark on our hearts that will never be forgotten. How? Because of their gravity. Gravity. What an interesting thing. It’s a physical reality that has no inherent substance. Yet, it can be explained by its impact and influence on tangible material. We can’t really see gravity, but we can see what it does. We can’t see gravity, but we see it’s effect. We can’t see gravity, but we feel it; not in this constant force of acceleration against us, but in the subtleties of life like aging. Gravity, we can’t really see it, nor are we readily feeling it as a sensation, something that is perceived by our major senses. Yet, we know it’s there…we know it’s real…we know it has some mysterious quality that gives things with mass, objects with any sort of meaning, weight. Weight tells us what’s real. But, weight isn’t always seen or even felt, sometimes it’s an unseen reality, a spiritual reality.
Weight gives us insight into what is real.
July 11th, 2015; a day some of us will never forget…ever. Why? Because of it’s weight. About a month prior to that beautiful day a couple of teenage girls were sitting in a room learning about new life in Christ. That we are LITERALLY new creations when we say yes to Him. That everything changes at that point. We die to our old selves, and we are resurrected with Christ into a newness of life. And then I told them, “This is actually what baptism represents. So in the early church, baptism was very much a part of your accepting Jesus a God. When you did one, you would do the other.” Their response, simultaneously, was, “That’s cool. I wanna do that!” So, on July 11th, 2015, everything changed for two young ladies. Baptism can easily become diminished to what it looks like: someone dunking someone else under water. Not too unlike what happens just before the lifeguard blows his or her whistle and yells, “No horse play,” at you for dunking your friend into the chlorine saturated community pool. Thank God for that chlorine though, right? But, this wasn’t like that…not at all. This had a different type of weight to it. You could feel it. It was like the gravity you feel in your soul, the swirling colors ravishing your heart when you’re captured by the gracefulness of a musical piece or the eyes of the one who loves you without condition. Like gravity it had a pull, it was pulling our hearts deeper toward something. Yet, even still, there was an aspect of it that was too weighty for us to feel or sense, an unseen and knowingly unfelt reality of what was taking place that day that can only be described as spiritual. It was…beautiful.
Something truly amazing happened on that day, something heavenly. And so we celebrate that day. The day where two young ladies decided that they will never be the same. That they are committed to a life permeated by the presence of God. That when they went under the water, they died to their mistakes, their selfish ways, their love for what the world has to offer and instead, they are now walking in the newness of life marked by meekness, humility, patience, compassion, joy, grace, and love. A life marked by Jesus. And in a way, so are we, right? That’s the beauty of it. We are connected, made to exist in community with one another. This is why we can be miles removed from an event, millions or billions of people removed from an occurrence, but still be impacted by it. It’s the gravity of it all.
“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” C.S. Lewis
We were all changed that day as we celebrated new life together. Not simply a one and done metaphor, but as a commitment that began over 2 years prior between these young ladies, the TKOVR, and God. And while this baptism was a blessing that will forever be an insignia of their walk with Christ, their bond to our earthly and heavenly family, the Church, and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is not the culmination of their experience with a living God. Everyday He will renew their strength. And as He renews theirs He will do the same for us. In a way, we are baptized EVERY DAY. Every day we die a little bit more to ourselves, every day we choose to lose our lives and gain true life in return…together. Blessings to those two young ladies who, whether they know it or not (they do), are forever changed by their decision to, by faith, be baptized. Blessings to those two young ladies who on that blessed day came out of the water declaring to their Maker, “I will follow you always.” Blessings to those two young ladies. We celebrate you.