Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Five: The Water and the Word

The latest Friday Five is brought to us by RevHRod

In this Sunday's gospel Nicodemus asks Jesus, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Poor old Nicodemus! He was so confused about the whole "water and Spirit" business of baptism.

For today's five, tell us about your baptismal experiences.
  1. When and where were you baptized? Do you remember it? Know any interesting tidbits? I was baptized on Palm Sunday, March 31st 1985. Sixth grade was the age youth were baptized in our church (Disciples of Christ). I remember the experience vividly. We attended "Pastor's Class" for the whole year, culminating in a weekend retreat the week before Palm Sunday. Both of my parents were out of the country at the time, on tour in Japan with the Texas Boys Choir, so I had an adopted 'mom' who was there with me that day, one of the members of the congregation. First, we were asked, one at a time by the Senior Minister (Rev. Pennybacker) the traditional baptismal questions and gave our statement of faith, and then robed up in white robes and were baptized. Even more memorable was our first communion on Maundy Thursday later that week. I'll never forget that night - it was a communion service followed by a Service of Tenebrae. It was quite the full and rich experience for a young 6th grader.
  2. What's the most unexpected thing you've ever witnessed at a baptism? the first time I attended a Pentecostal service was in 10th grade. It was a Sunday evening service and they were having a baptism. That was most unusual for me as I was used to the more reserved and organized baptisms of the Disciples church - highly participatory though they were. At this service, only one person was being baptized and they were an adult (wasn't everyone baptized in the 6th grade?!?). The actual baptism also took about 30 min. as they stayed in the bath for quite a while while people cried and sang and prayed and danced around. It was almost scary to me. But, there was no doubt in my mind that she was definitely baptized!
  3. Does your congregation have any special traditions surrounding baptisms? Now that I serve in a Presbyterian congregation, it's almost always infant baptisms. Our (relatively) new pastor has added a really cool thing to the baptism event in our worship services. After the actual baptism, he'll walk with the baby up and down the center isle and ask those seated on the ends of the rows to reach out and touch the baby as a symbol of our connectedness in the Body of Christ. I think it's a good, though small, step in teaching our congregation about how the water rite is just the beginning of a relationship as a family and that the vows we say at that rite are more than just fluff. We're working in many different areas of the church life to help people continue to live out those vows.
  4. Are you a godparent or baptismal sponsor? Have a story to tell? Nope, but I'd love to be one.
  5. Do you have a favorite baptismal song or hymn? I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry. We don't really ever sing baptismal songs in our worship as many times the baptism isn't really central to the service, just one part. That's definitly something I'd like to see changed, however. I would love to see our church adopt a policy of baptizing on certain Sundays, leading to many children being baptized at the same time, as well as the whole service focusing on those baptisms. That, I think, would be another step in making Baptism a more significant event in the life of our church. Maybe someday...


Blogger RevHRod said...

What wonderful reflections. Thank you.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Silent said...

My song choice too!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that one day... we will learn what it means to be the family of those baptized into the church. Great play!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Sally said...

great play- I love your personal Baptism story- and the touching "ritual!

4:06 PM  
Blogger leah sophia said...

lovely play! touching the newly-baptized is a wonderful idea, too...but 'borning cry' i definitely can do without and truly hope never to hear it again. oh, i still need to do the meme you tagged me for, so maybe later today. be blessed!

5:39 PM  
Blogger Auntie Knickers said...

I enjoyed your stories, and the reflection on reminding the congregation about their need to welcome the baptized one. I realize how fortunate I was to have a pastor when my daughters were baptized who actually did make the baptism the centerpiece of the service (and not just for me and mine). My son was baptized with three others on the pastor's next to last Sunday with us, and that service was all about baptism too.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff... My favorite baptism songs are "We Are Baptized in Chris Jesus" and "Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters"

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OOPS! fat fingers, missed the t...

2:21 PM  

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