Last Sunday was Caleb’s baptism. Both my parents and Sarah’s parents were able to be here for the occasion, and it was really wonderful. It was his first time in church, and he did very well. Thankfully, my colleague put the baptism toward the beginning of the service, so he didn’t have to wait too long.
Unlike my wife, I was not baptized as an infant, but rather was dedicated in a Presbyterian Church. My mom came from a Mennonite background, where adult/believer’s baptism is the norm. So, rather than getting sprinkled with water in a church sanctuary, I was dunked in a river in southern Idaho. I went back and forth about what I thought about infant baptism throughout college, and still think there is some real validity to understanding baptism through the anabaptist theological persuasion. But for us…we’ve baptized our boys.
Standing up front, holding Caleb, handing him off to the pastor to be baptized, I couldn’t help but think about our other two boys who were baptized by our Methodist minister friend, Kim. The same ritual; such different circumstances. With Micah and Judah, it was a powerful reminder of the God who would be with them and care for them as they were taken too early from our lives. With Caleb, it was a powerful reminder that the same God who watches over Micah and Judah, will now watch over and care for Caleb.
While I was at a conference this past week in Washington, D.C., I picked up a copy of Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s book “Water, Come Down: The Day You Were Baptized” to give to Caleb. It’s a beautifully illustrated book, and the words of Walter Wangerin, Jr. are captivating. Here is a short excerpt from the book:
I am the water that came from God,
From the love of the sun and his sister, the cloud,
The water that filled the skies.
And I am the water went under the ground
To turn the whole world upside down,
To bring the dead to life.
And I am the water that flows in a river,
The River of Life, forever and ever –
Yes! I am the water came down to your town,
To find you, child, and you I found –
The day you were baptized.