As I stood there listening, I imagined what I was hearing was very similar to what those faithful few heard on the first official day of the church — the Day of Pentecost. My eyes filled with tears as over a hundred people recited the “Lord’s Prayer” in unison. I listened, silently, as my mind tuned in to the moment’s significance. The Holy Spirit was definitely with us as many voices rose and fell in Spanish and English with every breath of the prayer.
AND WHAT A JOYOUS OCCASION! This was the first baptismal service in the life of our new church. Proud parents, godparents, and other family members arrived in their Sunday best. The baptismal candidates wore their special outfits — no doubt purchased for just an occasion as this. The pastors were adorned in white robes, and the front of the church was divinely adorned with implements marking the sacrament at hand. 5 children were baptized and anointed, and then our assembly took communion together, as one, united family. And then, with the service complete, families – biological and spiritual – gathered to enjoy time with one another over an abundant and amazing meal!
A baptism in a church is a special occasion. Whether newly constituted or well over two hundred years old, when it comes to the church, the baptismal ceremony temporally affirms – that is to say, places a timestamp … so to speak – the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those receiving the sacrament.
Think back to Jesus’s baptism. Remember?
Some say that baptism is ‘an outward sign of an inward grace.’ No doubt, that is true, but even more, baptism is a sacred event in the individual’s life, as well as the community that the individual is part of. God is “well pleased” with the baptized children (and their families) — with Olivia, Isaac, Estefani, Jacob, and Arleth. Through their devotion, the life of NAUMC–LM has been touched, and we have grown, and we have drawn closer to each other.
If the Holy Spirit is doing such amazing work now, my heart overflows with anticipation about what the Spirit will continue to do, perhaps next week, next month, next year, or even two hundred years from now.
Yes . . . I think God is “well pleased” indeed!