I experienced a first this past Saturday…
…I got the privilege to perform an adult baptism. She is a 20 year old woman (Samantha) who a member of my congregation has been mentoring for the past few months. This member (Dave) lives at a local nursing home and the young woman is a nurse’s aid at that nursing home. This woman knew of Dave’s strong faith and went to him with questions. Through the course of their conversations she mentioned that she wanted to be baptized. Since she wasn’t currently connected to a church Dave said “I think I can help you with that“, and contacted me.
I joyful agreed to baptize her.
I met with this young woman (and Dave) and we chatted for awhile, but left the bulk of the discipling up to Dave since he had already established a relationship with her. From the time Dave first started talking with Samantha he would call me and tell me some of the questions she had and how he responded. We would discuss those questions and I would encourage Dave.
He was doing a great job.
The day of the baptism finally arrived. The service was performed in the family room at the nursing home. Samantha invited her family, friends and residents of the nursing home. As we began, Samantha had to step away to get a tissue. She was starting to get emotional (and so was I). I read from Romans 6 and talked about what GOD is doing in baptism. We went through the confession of faith and when I eventually announced the promises of baptism to Samantha and poured the water over Samantha’s head in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…
…tears were flowing down her face (and down many other faces in that room).
I laid my hands on her head, prayed over her and made the sign of the cross on her forehead. I also invited her sponsors to make the sign of the cross on her forehead.
Tears were still flowing.
Salem Lutheran Church (the congregation I serve) presented Samantha a quilt and a study Bible.
Tears were still flowing.
For me this whole experience was very powerful. For my first time I got to experience a baptism where the person was aware of what was going on, what the promises being made to them meant and was showing pure joy as those promises were being announced. Now don’t get me wrong…I still love performing baptisms for infants (baptisms are the favorite thing I get to do as a pastor), but to see the recipient express that joy was…well…awesome.
Praise be to God!
And here’s the other cool part of all of this…
…Dave is currently in conversations with another nursing home staff member about getting her three older children baptized. Wow…God is awesome!
And I can hardly wait 🙂