|The baptism of Gijs in 2015 - washed clean!|
I remember the births of my two sons very well – as should be. Although both of them were born in a hospital, they were both unique in their ways. Stephan was born on Halloween. If you haven’t heard my story yet, you probably will if you talk to me long enough. Sean was born in Genk, Belgium, which was different in it’s own right.
Just as we remember the births of our children well, we also remember the births into Christ that we have experienced. The ‘usual’ way might be in a baptismal pool, but there are all sorts of variations. Our Stephan was baptized in the (very) cold creek at Bible camp in the Fall. Sean was baptized in the outside pool of friends in a night in January (we removed the ice from the pool covering).
For some, there was quite a crowd (a whole congregation). For others it was something more intimate. But for all of us, we can remember (I hope) that choice that we made, the thrill of knowing that we were washed clean, the wondering about what our life would look like now.
On Monday afternoon, Tulay emailed that the baptism we had talked about recently (she called us and said she had recently come to faith in Jesus, and did we know anything about baptism) would not leave her thoughts. She went to bed with the thought and awoke with the desire to be washed. We had just seen each other the day before and worshipped Jesus as Lord and King.
In Maastricht we meet in an upper room, but do not have a baptismal pool. Sometimes we are able to go to congregations close by and use theirs (in Liége or Genk). But this time, it was going to take too long. So we made other plans. A few years back, we had bought an inflatable pool – the kind you put in your back yard for the kids to play in (bigger than a little splashing pool). We have used it once for a baptism and it did well. Now was the time to use it again.
I took a bicycle pump, a tarpaulin, our garden hose and towels along. We stopped at a DIY store and bought the kind of pump and hose you use to empty your cellar of flood water. We didn’t have an electric pump, but I figured the bicylce pump would work just fine to blow up the pool. It didn’t. So I started blowing. The room needed to warm up anyway, so we had gone early to get things ready. How long could it take to blow this thing up?
Thankfully, Ruud came with a pump that pumps when you pull and when you push. Now (15 minutes before people would arrive) we could start filling the pool with water. The hose was hooked up to only cold water, so we filled buckets with hot water and dumped them in. This was going to take longer than expected.
In the meantime, Tulay arrived. Have you read what Cornelius’ house looked like when Peter arrived? (see Acts 10:24-27)This is what I was reminded of. There were 5 of us from the church who could be there – including sister Nel who does not go out in the evening (it was 8pm) and sister Kitty who had gotten permission from her non-believing husband. But Tulay brought her 7-year-old daughter, her mother and father, her best friend (who was now also a Christian) and her friend’s daughter, and the woman who had first introduced her to Jesus. Tulay understood how important this was and she had invited the people nearest her to hear what God had to say.
We sang, we looked at examples of this same birth in the book of Acts, and we saw a woman rise from the dead to new life in Christ. Now, as with all of our births, life would begin. Now would begin the learning, the struggles, the glorious little victories made possible only in Christ. Now we had a new sister. And we shared our hearts in prayer to the God of all who alone makes this possible.
Tulay went on her way that evening tired, but excited for her new life. Do you remember your birth? Where were you born?