Last night I was in a nice back yard, on a nice, warm evening, standing with a bunch of nice people by a nice swimming pool. My wife, Brittany Stockton stood up in front of all the people and explained to us that there were thirteen kids in her 3rd through 5th grade youth group that wanted to be baptized.
She told us that she has been teaching the kids that Jesus’ life is a good blueprint for our lives; and since Jesus himself was baptized, it would be good for the kids to be baptized when they were ready to follow Jesus. One girl told Brittany she was ready to follow Jesus by being baptized. Brit asked if anyone else was ready and a whole bunch of children raised their hands. The parents were involved and the kids were given the opportunity to go to a baptism class. Those who know each child best concluded that the child was truly ready—and last night was the moment of truth.
Scripturally and theologically, baptism is a sacrament. The word sacramentis reserved for very few things in life. Communion (or the Eucharist) is considered a sacrament because, though it is has a natural aspect—eating bread and drinking juice— it has a supernatural aspect as well—God communing with man. Marriage is another thing the church has traditionally considered to be a sacrament. The natural aspect of a man and a woman coming together physically has a spiritual component when, as the Bible teaches us, the two become one.
Now, back to the backyard baptism.
As each child got into the water, feeling wonder, excitement, a tinge of uncertainty, and a lot of love, their pastors Brittany Stockton and Blake Romeo prayed for each one. These prayers were prayers of understanding both of God and the child being baptized. These prayers were prophetic at certain points, speaking over the kids' lives. And these prayers were deeply moving as God‘s love was being poured out in and through the people participating. A number of moms and dads added their heartfelt prayers, filling the backyard air with beautiful sentiment and inspiring love. I definitely saw some grown men crying.
So, in the end, we had thirteen young people take a step further in their relationship with Jesus. We had parents and pastors fulfilling the great commission Jesus gave us to teach people His ways and baptize them in His name. We saw a whole community gathered around, witnessing the beautiful love of Christ, and being caught up in that love. And the one thing we couldn’t see, but we could definitely feel, was the radiating pleasure of God himself as He looked down on this group of children getting it right.
I pray that this weekend you would experience a sacramental moment where some natural aspect of your life becomes infused with the supernatural wonder and love that only Jesus’ Holy Spirit can bring.