To be sure, it is special for all who follow the way of Jesus. Baptism is the marker, the statement we make to tell ourselves, each other and the world "I am identifying myself with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and choosing to follow him. I am handing my entire life to God to do with it whatever God chooses." We baptize because Jesus was baptized. We baptize because John the Baptist and Peter and numerous saints along the way have preached "Repent and be baptized!" In baptism we go under the water, remembering that one day, in death, we will be placed into the ground. We go under the water also remembering that we are sinking in our sins. We come out of the water in anticipation of being raised out of the ground, and in recognition of our great need to be raised out of the torrent of sin.
And for us, baptism has taken extra significance. In 2005, as our friend and pastor Kyle Lake prepared to baptize a member of our congregation, a series of malfunctions occurred and he passed away. It was a horrific day, a day in which the brokenness of the world was made manifest before our eyes, a tragedy that we have been marked by. But can I be so bold to say that something beautiful happened that day as well? In those waters-- waters that represent the passing from temporary, sin-filled and self-obsessed life, to death, to eternal life with our Creator-- our friend passed from life in this broken world to life in a complete, eternal world.
The sting of death was very real and present on that day, but because of the picture baptism paints for us, we remember that death does not have the final say, Jesus does. This story is ever present with us when we come to the waters of baptism.
Since that day we have moved baptisms from our building to outdoors. We offer up Palm Sunday of every year-- the day Christians celebrate Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem to defeat death once-and-for-all-- as the day for those who have not yet been baptized to do so.
If you would like to be baptized on that day, please let us know. Any of the pastors at UBC would be overjoyed to baptize you. If there is someone special in the church who you would like to baptize you (Mi Casa leader, Sunday School Teacher, Parent, etc.), we encourage that as well.
If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday of this week.