I was there

2 Corinthians 7:2-12
This weekend, I baptized a young saint of God. She was the second person I’ve baptized during the pandemic. I tell my congregation that baptism is one of the most important things we do as the body of Christ. So, we make it a big deal.

How do you know when a preacher thinks something else is more important than his preaching? Easy. He preaches a shorter sermon. When there’s a baptism planned, I’ll cut my sermon, at least, in half. I’m not sure people remember what I say anyway. It doesn’t help when you put a beautiful baby up there. Likewise, if someone is there to confess Jesus as their Lord, that likelihood plummets. What they remember is that beautiful baby or the person acknowledging Jesus as Lord of all.

And I’m okay with that.

There’ll be another sermon to hear (or forget). If I were to guess, I’ve preached close to five hundred sermons at my current church. Who remembers them all?

But let me mourn and complain a bit. Compared to sermons, baptisms are far and few between in my pastoral experience. Plus, a lot of the babies who do come, leave. Many of the adults who came to know the Lord later in life find their way to different churches as well.

Combine that bit of reality with what baptism signifies. The result is a joyous occasion for any Sunday. With the two pandemic baptisms I’ve done, we didn’t celebrate like we would normally as the church. But it was still a baptism!

So, I’ll still pour my heart into the sermon, but I know there’s another eagerness the church feels. They want to see the baptism. Again, I love this. For all the reasons we’ve already talked about. Plus, one more.

In our denomination, we follow a ceremony that includes congregational responses. Whatever family is up front for baptism knows this is also a family of God event. After we’ve prayed and after the water has dripped over the head of the one baptized, the congregation does something important. They reaffirm their faith. Every person, then, participates in the baptism.

They aren’t rebaptized, of course. But they have a chance to consider how their baptism has shaped their life. It’s wonderful that one life is standing in front of the church being baptized. How great it is, too, if an entire congregation leaves with the reminder of who and whose they are!

If that’s the case, I’m okay if they don’t recall every part of my sermon. They will remember they were there when that child of God was baptized. 

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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