This weekend was a big event in our family. Both of my boys got baptized. If you aren’t a Christian this probably means nothing to you. If you are you know it is probably the most important thing to happen in their lives.
My wife and I grew up in the churches of Christ. One of the core tenants of that faith tradition is that salvation occurs at the moment of baptism. While we’ve come to believe salvation happens when you dedicate your life to following Jesus, we still believe God commanded everyone to be baptized and did it himself. So it is a big deal for us.
Our boys have called themselves Christians for a number of years, but have never decided to get baptized. As a parent you want to encourage your kids to do what you know they should, but in this choice you want to make sure they are doing it on their own. So we’ve mentioned it in passing a few times, but never really got into a discussion of it. Last Saturday night we were at dinner and it came up. It went something like this:
Me: “So do you think you need to be baptized?”
Elijah: “Yeah. I mean Jesus said you should and he was baptized.”
Me: “So are you going to be baptized?”
Elijah: “I don’t know. Someday.”
When you kid says “I don’t know” they don’t usually want to know. They think that answer means they don’t have to answer the question. It’s the easy way out. But I wanted them to think about this.
Me: “Someday. Someday in the far future? Someday soon?”
Me: “So why wouldn’t you be baptized tomorrow?” (Tomorrow was Sunday.)
Micah: “OK. I’ll be baptized tomorrow.”
Elijah: “I don’t know.”
My wife said something about that Sunday being fathers day and short notice to get her family to come to church with us.
Micah: “Then next Sunday.”
Elijah: “I don’t want to get baptized in front of the whole church.”
Micah: “I do”
Me: “Why not? Are you afraid?”
Elijah: “I’m not afraid, I’m shy.”
Me: “Isn’t that what shy is? Being afraid of something? Anyway, we can do it some other time in front of just family and friends.”
Micah: “I still want to do it in front of the church.”
And that was it. We decided to do it a week later. Micah went forward during the invitation song and was baptized during church. We invited a bunch of friends to come up to the church at 2 that afternoon and baptized Elijah.
One other thing that happen that was important to me. I performed the baptisms. I was baptized when I was 9 at Garrnet Road church of Christ in Tulsa Oklahoma. I remember going up front during the invitation song and sitting on the front row. Garrnet had over a 1000 members even then – or at least it seems that way to me. The minister, Marvin Phillips, knew why I was there because my father and I had gone and talked to him about it earlier. And he did something I’ll thank him for forever. He asked me if I wanted my father to baptize me. The thought hadn’t even occurred to me, but I’m glad it had to him.
So I wanted to baptized the boys, but when I asked Micah he said he didn’t want me to. Needless to say, I was a little hurt. But it is his big day. I did ask my wife to talk to them. I don’t know what she said but they both wanted me to do it. So I did.
Update: More pictures uploaded to my .Mac account.