yesterday i attended a baptism and family picnic that our church family, Re:Generation, holds twice a year…
it is one of the highlights for us [and not just because of the quantity of fine meat they prepare – these okes know how to barbecue braai!] because of the feeling of family celebration and togetherness that tends to come out of it… and just a much less rushed time of being able to hang with church folks than the normal sunday in-out vibe that often occurs in the busyness of the day…
this one was a special day as my mate Nate Chamberlain [or Nate Dawg as we call him in this particular piece of blog] was getting baptised and also because he asked me [last minute so good thing i wasn’t wearing jeans as David ‘the Bartaman’ was] to accompany him into the water and be part of his baptism.
baptising my friends is one of my favourite things to do, and something i highly recommend to any and all followers of Jesus.
one thing i really liked was Albert [main pastor and my church bossman]’s approach to the baptism, inviting anyone who wanted to, not just to come out and be a part of the baptism, but to ‘perform the baptism’ if they wanted – “After all there is nothing more spiritual or special about me doing it”.
that feels like the kind of vibe Jesus had – being accused by the spiritual leaders of the day of not being spiritual enough, but simply choosing the route of being practical and simple and clear to those around him.
the temple was full of a lot of ritual and law and spectacle – Jesus sat around a table with some friends, broke some bread and drank some wine and said, ‘Do this as you remember Me.’
the disciples around Him and other adults tried to keep the meetings orderly and focused on the important teachings of the rabbi – but Jesus stopped ‘the meeting’ and called the children forward and hung out with them – He took time to speak to the women and the lepers and other sick people normally kept to the fringes [out of the way of the important ‘man of God’]
He was accused of hanging out with the prostitutes and the tax collectors…
KEEPING IT REAL
i can’t imagine Jesus baptising someone in a baptismal font [no offence to any of you who use baptismal fonts – it is a practical way to get something necessary done] over a river or a beach that they happened to be walking by – ‘the thing’ always seemed to trump ‘the procedure of the thing’ and ‘the look of the thing’. i think there is something we can learn from that.
i remember baptising my buddy Mark in his mom’s FREEZING swimming pool on a farmland outside the city.
i remember baptising my friend Kirsten on the beach with a small bunch of her friends gathered round to embrace us as we got out of the water.
i remember baptising my friend Megan in knee deep water [shallowest baptism ever!] at Camp Wortelgat [literally ‘Carrot Hole’ or maybe more accurately ‘Carrot Bumhole’] after walking and walking and walking trying to find deep enough water and then eventually [as the crowd gathered on the edge of the lake started resembling ants] issuing the command of ‘Kneel, we’re gonna do this here!’
i remember baptising my friend Lindri in the narrowest of ICE COLD streams [i see a pattern here] as we also walked and searched a long time to try and find deep enough water, having climbed over a fence and stumbled around bushes and over rocks with a dedicated group of friends to try and find the perfect spot in Stellenbosch.
baptismal font baptisms are fine, but there is something that feels that slight bit more real or authentic to me about doing it ‘in the wild’ or simply in the place where the water is.
GO AND DO LIKEWISE
the reason i encourage people to baptise their friends is because Jesus did that.
at the end of Matthew, just before He leaves to go and join His Father again, Jesus tells His followers to go and make disciples of all nations and to baptise them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to teach them everything I have taught you.
that command was never to the priests [excepting when in Hebrews we realise that each and every one of us who follows Jesus is now a priest] or to the religious leaders of the day – it was to all of us – nothing excites me more than seeing someone baptise their friend who they led to Jesus Christ. this should be happening with all of us on a more regular basis.
Who is the person in your life that you would most like to baptist?
And how are you living out your Jesus story to them in a way that might make that seem like an enticing prospect one day?