Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chloe got baptized

I figured the best way to write this post was to recreate as best I can what was said and done at the actual event.

A few weeks ago our church/friends/group got together in the backyard of a couple who have a hot tub. Aaron, Chloe, and I stood in front of our friends and I started with the disclaimer that we had no idea what we were doing. (To those of you who don't know, there have not been very many baptisms in our little home church, so there's not much of a precedence. We have no pastor, so there's no one to officiate the ceremony. This was a homegrown process, and we were a tiny bit nervous, but excited that this was such an organic gathering.)

I started with the story of why we were there.

About a year or so ago, the kids and I were driving around town and for some reason or other that I cannot now remember, Chloe asked how to become a Christian/have Jesus come live in your heart/know Jesus, and I told her she just needed to ask him; to thank him for dying on the cross and forgiving her sins and ask him to rule her heart and mind and life. She asked if she could do that, and I, somewhat nervously, not wanting to screw this up, led her in a prayer. And so Chloe's heart came to belong to Jesus.

Then a few months ago, for some reason or other that I cannot now remember, Chloe asked about being baptized. We talked some about what it meant, and prayed about it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't being done for the wrong reasons, and we wanted to know that it was really the Lord's will for Chloe, that she was following him and not just following a whim. We asked the church to pray for us, too. After that the conversation dropped off and I pretty much forgot about it. But Chloe didn't. A couple months ago, she brought it up again. We were in the car again (this seems to be a great place for conversations), and so we prayed about it again, asking that the Lord would make it plain to Chloe if this was something he wanted her to do. As we were praying, the Lord brought to my mind the idea of having Chloe read some verses about baptism. I told her about it, and when we got home I BibleGateway-ed some verses on baptism. Chloe went upstairs to be alone and read them. When she came downstairs a few minutes later, she said, "Yes, I definitely want to be baptized!" I asked her why; what was it about what she had read that really spoke to her, and what did it mean? She said that she wanted to leave sin behind and tell God that her heart belonged to him and that she wanted to follow him. There are obviously no "right" answers, but that was definitely a right answer! So, after a little planning on our part and a lot of planning on the part of some of our friends/group/church, we got together in the backyard.

Aaron then read the verses that had so impacted Chloe: "All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we're going in our new grace-sovereign country. Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did." Romans 5:20-6:11, The Message.

Then Aaron and Chloe climbed into the hot tub; he prayed for her and baptized her into the wonderful, beautiful, crazy Body of Belivers.

You can read Rishi's eloquent and emotional take on the event here, as well as see some stunning photography.


Chris said...

Thanks for enabling me to participate in such a beautiful, joyous, momentous event!


Angela said...

Wow. How special. It must have been particularly moving for Aaron. I loved Rishi's pictures as well.

Jennie Quillen said...

Awesome. Simply awesome. What a special moment in your lives.

Rishi said...

Yes, it was such an honor to share this moment with your family.

sandy said...

I am so overjoyed by all of this. I remember going to my parents when I was probably about Chloe's age and my Dad just told me I wasn't old enough. I was simply devastated. I'm so glad you didn't discourage her from the Lord's leading. And I am so blessed to have a new sister in Christ. Thanks for sharing Amy.