In the water of baptism. Jeanine and I just returned from a great weekend with my family in West Virginia where I got to assist in the baptism of my youngest cousin, Kayley. Family members came from all over to celebrate this sacred time together. It was great to see extended family and catch up on what's been going on with each of them. I dare to say it is unique the way that our family can gather - from the youngest to the oldest - aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, great-aunts and great uncles - as far apart as we all live, there is a connection and love that I really cherish.
Back to the baptism side of the weekend though. Kayley is 4 months old and was baptized in the United Methodist Church that I grew up in. Now, whether you believe in infant baptism or not let me tell you what I know from this experience. 1. On Sunday, I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in that church like I never have before. As the light was ushered past me to the altar, my heart and mind were filled with joy in anticipation. He stirred in a number of hearts that morning. And, 2. when taken purely and seriously, the covenant of baptism written in the United Methodist Hymnal is such an amazingly deep commitment. It is a commitment for the congregation and family of the person being baptized. Too often we treat the covenant as words on a page. It seems to me that there is power and presence of the Holy Spirit in baptism whether received as an infant or an adult. Do I have a preference, sure, but however it is done, I'm not going to limit what the Lord can and cannot do (not that I really could anyway, but it's better not to even try :).
It was quite an honor to be apart of this baptism service and I am excited to see how Kayley continues to learn and grow. As someone who was a part of the her baptism service I feel a great responsibility to do my part in leading her to faith in Jesus Christ. May He be glorified through the life of this young child!