Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thoughts on Baptism.

[I didn't mean to be gone for so long. I hosted a shower on Tuesday night, and I think after all the excitement of the weekend I just needed a few days to recover. But I'm feeling recovered and now that Judah is napping I have a few minutes to sit and think and write.]

I didn't grow up in a church that does infant baptism. I wasn't baptized as an infant. In fact, I remember the day of my baptism very well - I was about 12 and my brother was baptized at the same time. I remember the white turtleneck I wore and standing in front of the church as getting asked questions about what I believed. It's a very fond memory and an event that is important to me.

You can see, then, why it is that even after I became convinced of the correctness of the reformed way of thinking that I still struggled to come around to the idea of infant baptism. I used to think that even though I could see that infant baptism was biblical, I wasn't sure that I would want to deprive my children of the experience that I had - of feeling the water close overhead and rising up all dripping wet in front of the congregation.

But when we were trying for so many months to get pregnant, one of the things that I most dreamed about was baptizing our baby. I was excited about all the typical things, of course, but for some reason one thing that I had envisioned was that moment when we would stand in front of our church and the pastor would hold our child and pour a handful of water on his head. I used to wonder if that moment would ever happen.

I don't intend this to be an exegesis of the biblical theology of baptism. Nor do I intend to try to convince anyone to the rightness of my opinion on the matter. But several things that Kevin said on Sunday helped to remind me why I have come to love infant baptism.

I love the God doesn't just make promises to individuals. He makes promises to families. Not just to you, but to your children's children.

I love that Baptism isn't just about you and a commitment you made. It's about the whole covenant community. A sign that you are now a part of them. That you can't do it alone. Kevin had the whole congregation come forward and surround Judah while he did the baptism and Jeff prayed. It was beautiful. I love that Judah is a part of something bigger than just himself. He's part of our church, filled with people who will pray for him and teach him about Jesus and love him.

Judah will not have a memory of his baptism. But that's ok. Because God pursues each of us before we can even think of him, when our hearts are still stone and dead. Before we even have an inkling of a thought towards God, he is there, working on us, slowly chipping away at us. That is what I pray for Judah each night, that God would even now, before he even remembers, be giving him a heart of flesh.

So that's what his baptism is about. And why I love it so much. When we were standing up front on Sunday, I was suddenly struck (again) by just how blessed we are. That God would give us such a wonderful, beautiful gift as our son. He has given us so much grace already; yet he still gives us more.

4 comments:

Christy said...

I loved that post. It sounds like a Baptist version of parent/child dedication. (but with water). But I'm sure I'm making too simple an analogy b/c then I'm wondering what about believer's baptism?
I think you've prompted me to look more into that.
Christy

Carissa said...

Thank you so much for posting your thoughts on this. We are talking about having Gemma baptized soon, and infant baptism has been something I have struggled with understanding, having grown up as the daughter of a Southern Baptist minister. It is hard because I understand the Scriptural basis for both methods. Reading your post really helped me consider some aspects of infant baptism from a new perspective.

Melanie said...

Amen. The thing that I love most about infant baptism is how clearly it shows how little God's pursuing us has to do with us pursuing him.

CO mom said...

We had a baptism at our church here yesterday. Our pastor explained what it meant by our commitment to the baby being baptized. Very helpful!

One thing he said was as "older" parents our wisdom is needed in encouraging the younger parents.

I want to be an encouraging voice.