Last Sunday was Baptism Sunday at our church. It is this time that the 5th grade children in our church can choose to be baptised. Previous to making this decision they have gone through a study session with our minister to learn about what it means to be baptised and follow in the life of Christ.
It was such a sweet and precious moment watching these kids make their profession of faith. Many of these children participate in our church’s, once a week, after school program. They come for play time, music time, bible study and dinner. I have volunteered for this program for the past few years in various capacities and have watched these kids grow up. Dear Husband and I are table parents at dinner time and three of the boys who were baptised last weekend were at our table all year. I’m so glad I had the chance to get to know these boys and then get to watch them make this new step in their Christian journey.
Personally I don’t believe that whether or not a person is baptised is a deal breaker in their spiritual journey. I see it as a chance to make a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ and a symbolic act to follow Christ’s example when he was baptised. I think it’s a personal decision to do this. Getting dunked in front of a crowd is not for everyone and I can respect that. Many Christians believe that being baptised is a way to wash away your sins and start afresh. Yes, this is part of the ritual but after this weekend I’m beginning to understand it to be so much more.
In our minister’s sermon following the baptism he pointed out that Jesus didn’t need to be baptised according to our standards and qualifications. He didn’t have any sins to be washed away. He was making a public statement about who he was, the life he was choosing to lead and setting an example for the rest of his followers to also choose that life. These kids were following the example…making their public statement about who they are, what they believe and the role they want to play in the world.
For some being baptised is about washing away the “original sin” we are born with. Original sin is a concept that I have wrestled with my entire life. I understand where the idea comes from and why the Church teaches it but I still don’t really buy it. A discussion our adult Sunday School class one day cleared up some frustrations I’ve struggled with. Growing up, many of us are taught that we are born already sinful beings thanks to Adam and Eve’s sin (so the story goes). They were cast out from the garden and ever since then we have all had that black mark on us and need to find a way to wash it off. However, a force greater than sin and death took control way before Eve’s run in with the snake. God made us in his image. God gave us original blessing.
I choose to believe that we come into this world marked with love, not death. Choosing to be baptised is a continuation of this beautiful love story.