It’s been raining and cool today; not the beautiful spring day we’d hoped for Easter. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s been a wonderful day in the ways that really count. A church full of friends and family celebrating the Resurrection, a meal shared with people I love, children hopped up on candy, a quiet afternoon.
Striker was baptized today, along with six other members of our church family. The youngest to be baptized were two seven-year-olds. The oldest was a man in his 80’s. I’ve just spent the last fifteen minutes or so trying to come up with words to describe what the baptism service meant to me. I simply can’t. I fall back again on William Willimon:
The only way we shall break (the world’s) hold on us is to be transferred to another dominion, to be cut loose from our old certainties, to be thrust under the flood and then pulled forth fresh and newborn. Baptism takes us there.
I also turn to St. Paul, who understood that the gospel calls us to radically identify with the Savior who radically identified with us. And there, too, baptism takes us.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Phil. 3:10-11
Before being baptized Striker shared a few words with the congregation about her desire to know and serve God completely. She also paid tribute to a particular adult friend who has been an inspiration to her. Those comments brought about my second favorite moment of the day, after the baptism. In the car on the way to lunch, Cheesy said, “(Striker) really looks up to George, doesn’t she? Who do I look up to?”
“I don’t know, Babe. Only you can answer that question. (Striker) looks up to George because she can see that he passionately loves Jesus.”
“Oh. Well in that case, I look up to you.” Cheesy was completely matter-of-fact in the delivery of that reply. I managed to keep driving without bursting into tears.
“That is the nicest thing you could possibly say to me. Thank you.”