Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
When I read this passage, I can’t help but think of my Baptism when I was 9 years old in Decatur, Illinois. I was not raised a Methodist—I was raised a Baptist which meant that we went to church every Sunday, we read the Baptist Creed aloud monthly, and we weren’t baptized until we had attended 6 weeks of classes and could answer questions about the life of Jesus. And baptism meant being totally immersed in water while held by our minister. In other words, no sprinkling water on a baby’s head and getting off easy!
Our way was that after church, we met in the Pastor’s Study and this poor man had to try and tame 12 eight and nine year olds to sit quietly while he explained the life of Jesus and the meaning of being baptized. And unfortunately, he wasn’t a very interesting storyteller.
But we all made it through and then came the Big Event. The baptism font which was a tiled box located next to the alter, was filled with water awaiting the ceremony. We were given long white choir robes to wear which of course, made walking in the water even more difficult. (And yes, we made jokes about if we were Jesus we could walk “on” the water and there would be no problem). To get in, we had to climb down steps into the waist-high water and walk (without creating waves or splashing) over to where the minister stood, ready to submerge us. Unfortunately, my thoughts weren’t on the meaning of what was happening but on things like whether the water was cold (it was), would I drown (I didn’t) and would I get through this without embarrassing myself and my family by coming up sputtering and coughing. (God is good—I didn’t)
But in all honesty, I think the Methodist way is better.
– Submitted by Kathy Martin