I’ve been a Christian all my life. I can remember “walking the aisle” as they used to say in the Baptist church when I was only 6 years old. My daddy was at work that Sunday and my momma was in the choir, so I didn’t ask anybody if it was okay to “go forward” – I just went. I told our preacher I wanted Jesus to come into my heart and he prayed with me and that’s exactly what happened. Jesus came into my heart. I don’t think my momma and daddy believed I knew what I was doing until I told them how I felt. Because after I prayed, I felt like my feet never touched the ground. For several days. It was like Jesus had removed everything heavy and when He did, I was lighter than air. At six, I knew exactly what I was doing.
My baptism service was scheduled a few weeks later. I was still six and scared out of my mind. I really did not want to go through with the baptism. What if he (the preacher) drops me? What if I drown? (Give me a break here – I was only six!) Of course, he didn’t drop me and I didn’t drown. When he brought me up out of that water, I knew there was something different about me again. This time, it wasn’t that I was walking on air, it was more like a warm blanket, fresh from the dryer, was wrapped around me and I knew that I was safe. I’ve been safe ever since that day.
Bishop David preached on baptism this morning. He talked about how when a person is baptized, they become a member of the family of God. He talked about how important it is to be a part of a family and to be a part of the family of God.
There was a specific reason Bishop David spoke on baptism today. We had an infant baptism in our church service this morning. This blog is not to discuss whether you believe infant baptism is right or wrong. This blog is to look at the beauty of baptism and what it means.
In our service, there are two questions asked of the parents and family: “Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?” and, “Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?” To both questions, the parents answer “I will, with God’s help.” The parents and family that surround the child are asked a series of questions and finally, the congregation – the extended family – is asked, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support this child in his/her life in Christ?” And the congregational family says, “We will.” The families – both blood related and extended - then have the opportunity and privilege of renewing their own baptismal covenant.
This morning, Little Miss Lila Grace McGee, approximately seven weeks old, was baptized into the Family of God. It was a beautiful service, to see her parents, Seth and Joy McGee, and family members gathered around Lila to present her to God. As she was baptized, Bishop David poured water over her sweet little head as he said “I baptize you in the name of the Father” and her “Big Daddy,” Deacon Tony McGee, poured water over her as Bishop said, “and of the Son” and as he said, “and of the Holy Spirit,” her daddy, Seth, poured water over her head. The three most important men in her life ensuring that she is covered in that warm blanket – that she is safe.
After the baptism, Bishop David made the sign of the cross on Lila’s forehead and said, “Lila Grace McGee, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever." Amen. What a praise report – to know that Lila is marked as Christ’s own forever!
Someday, when Lila is old enough to understand, she will “walk the aisle.” Until that time, she is marked and sealed as Christ’s own. And her parents and family will make sure she is brought up in the Christian life and will pray for her and support her. After all, that’s what families do.