So I totally slacked on blogging over the summer :/ There are some things that I still want to document here, even if they are a little late. One of those things is Silas getting baptized last August!
I grew up in the church, going pretty much every weekend with my family. Sunday school lessons and my parents singing in the choir were just a part of our normal. Sometimes I think about some of the things we do as Christians, how they might look to someone who didn’t grow up with them. I’m sure some of these things probably seem a little strange. Since we have small children, I’m constantly being challenged to think through things (all things!) and find ways to understand and explain them in ways that are real and simple.
This summer, I got to see baptism with fresh eyes – through the perspective of my five year old son 🙂
Our church is awesome 🙂 I feel like a lot of churches (including many that I’ve been a part of) tend to make things complicated. There are rules and regulations and strict traditions and politics. Something I really appreciate about the church we’re a part of now, is that things are generally simple. The church doesn’t have a baptismal (a huge tub built into the stage for doing baptisms), so during services that they do baptisms, they bring two huge horse troughs to the front of the sanctuary and fill them with water. In between them, a table is set up and stacked high with towels.
I’d never been to a baptism service at our church before this one in August. It started with one of the pastors coming up on the stage and just sharing a short message about what it means to trust Jesus with your life, and that baptism symbolizes Jesus washing our sins away, making us clean.
After the message, anyone who had made the decision to trust the Lord and wanted to be baptized could. People started to line up. One by one they stepped into the water. The pastors took turns kneeling by the troughs, talking and praying with each person, then immersing and lifting them out of the water. Every time someone came up, everyone in the church started cheering! And the whole time, the worship team (which I got to be a part of!) was singing and playing, leading in worship. It was really cool, just seeing person after person step into the water and make this sort of declaration. They had been forgiven, made clean. They were free and were showing on the outside what had taken place on the inside!
I smiled as I saw one very pregnant lady get into the tub. Her face was gleaming as she and her baby sat in the water. The pastors talked with her. I couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the music, but she looked so happy! After a few minutes she held her breath, and the pastors helped her lean back and sit up again. People erupted with cheers! How cool to be able to tell your child that that was a part of your pregnancy!
The service went on for almost two hours. Towards the end, Branden, who had been part of the congregation, went and picked up our boys from their classes. I saw them walk into the sanctuary and take a seat towards the back of the room. The boys stood on chairs to get a better view.
Finally every person in line had gone and our pastor came back to the stage. “Is there anyone else?” he asked. “Anyone else who’d like to be baptized tonight? We will wait for you.”
Silas had been asking questions about baptism. We had had a few talks with him about what it meant. He had asked when he could do it. Branden and I had talked about it. He was only five years old. We wanted to make sure he really understood what it meant. After several conversations, it was clear that he did. This was something he really wanted to do, but we hadn’t really planned on it that night (which means I didn’t bring him a change of clothes!)
As our pastor gave the last call, I caught Branden’s eye from the stage and motioned towards Silas who was standing next to him. I saw him lean down and say something. Silas’ face lit up and they started moving towards the front of the church! I of course, was still on the stage singing! I ripped the ear pieces out of my ears and started running down to meet them (and grab my camera which Branden had left at the back of the sanctuary!).
I ran to the front as Branden and one of the pastors (which is a really good friend of ours) knelt down beside Silas to talk with him. Another friend came up behind me and asked if I wanted him to take pictures. I really wanted to have pictures of this, but I also wanted to be part of it! I was grateful for his offer. I handed the camera over and joined them by the water 🙂
After a minute or so, they helped Silas into the water. He was so excited he started to dance in the horse trough!
They tried to get him to sit, but he was so little, he didn’t reach the bottom! They tried to hold him in place. That didn’t really work, so they had him stand, which was probably better since he was so excited!
This is my favorite picture 🙂 Once they finally figured out what position he needed to be in, Branden asked him if he was ready. Instead of answering, Silas immediately held his breath and started to lean back into the water! Branden stopped him and said he needed to wait a minute so that he could ask him a couple of questions. He was ready!
He agreed to listen to what Branden had to say, but never stopped holding his breath 🙂
After a short talk, they had him hold his nose and baptized him. So cool that Branden got to do this 🙂
He was surprised to hear the whole church cheering and clapping as he came up!
Here’s our little clan. You can see how excited Ethan was 🙂 Our little introvert was kind of overwhelmed by the whole experience. He made sure to tell me later than night that he never ever wants to be baptized 🙂
Silas was so happy!
My goodness, this boy. He is six years old now, and some days can be challenging, but to hear him talk about the Lord, to hear him pray! He’s so sincere in his faith. There’s no clutter or pretending, just pure, joyful trusting in Jesus! Being his parent is an incredible gift and I am so so thankful!