Today I got Baptized… Again
Today I took a big step in my Christian belief. Today I got baptized… for the second time. Shortly after Heather and I got married last April we began our search for a church close to home. We knew that this was an important step for us and visited a few other churches but we always found ourselves coming back to NewSpring. For me it was all about the sermons, and Heather loved the music. Coming from the traditional United Methodist background the rock concerts at NewSpring every Sunday were a little much, and they still can be. The sermons are always so relevant and powerful, though, and I believe it was a sermon back in October that really got me thinking about baptism again.
As most everyone who knows me and reads this blog knows my father was a minister in the United Methodist Church. Not only that, but you can go back five generations of Jameses as Methodist Ministers. I grew up in the church, and my father baptized me when I was an infant like any good Methodist parents do. According to the stories I’ve always heard, I was a great and quiet child through my baptism. I was quiet because I slept through it… the whole thing. Not that I would have remembered it anyway. I don’t feel like the fact that I slept through it doesn’t make it count or makes it any less real.
Going back to the sermon last October from Pastor Perry… It really struck a nerve with me. Yes, I had been baptized and was raised in the church. No, I didn’t consider myself a bad Christian or anything, but it did feel a little lacking that I had never consciously made a decision to be baptized. I decided during that service that it was something that I wanted to do for myself. Not because I didn’t believe I was saved, but because I wanted it to be by my own decision. It really hit home that although I was baptized it was never my choice or will for it to happen. I felt a strong desire that I wanted to do it simply because. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that. Call it faith, call it religion, but I wanted to take that step for Christ.
Today I finally took that step. I’ll be the first to admit that I was nervous going into it. If I’m honest with myself it bothered me a little that people might think I was doing it because I didn’t feel like I had a relationship with God or wasn’t a Christian before. It also bothered me a little bit that I would even care what others might think because it doesn’t matter. It is my decision. I guess all of it was just feelings that I was working through.
After everything is said and done, I don’t feel any different. I completely understand how for many this is a life altering moment. For me I had that moment when I was fifteen, but that is a story for another day. I am glad that I took this step. Coming up out of the water I did feel more focused. I didn’t feel any more holy or good, but I was proud that I found the courage to take this step. I’ve never been the person to procrastinate anything, but I do have a clearer picture in my mind about where I want to go with a few different things.
Many of you that know me know that I don’t talk a lot about my faith and beliefs. It is not because they aren’t rock solid but more because I usually let my actions speak for me here. This is one of those few occasions where I want to share my story. Maybe there is someone out there reading this who was baptized as a child but was thinking about doing it again. Maybe you are struggling with some of the same details that I did. I think my final takeaway is not that God loves me any less or more this afternoon than He did this morning but that I shared with Him and everyone else that I have made an open commitment to Him in my life. And that is why I got baptized again.