Congratulations to Sarah, who chose this evening to be baptised. She is part of an on-coming avalanche of baptisms, not of infants, but younger and older people who are making their own decision to be baptised.
Baptism is part of the primary school curriculum. I get the chance to go into school, explain what it is, and field some intriguing questions about it, which challenge me to explain it to young people from their perspective. I also get the chance to do the same when school’s visit the church building.
What I say depends on the age of those listening.
They are always intrigued by the idea of adult baptism, and full immersion, because they weren’t expecting that. With the older ones, the symbolism is not lost on them – they can see that what is going on is drowning, then re-emergence with life. This is both a bit of a shock, but then a kind of eureka moment, because it does sum up baptism.
Surrender, death to self, then alive, new life in Jesus.
I remember writing about baptism, and coming across the phrase ‘a clash of expectations,’ which does beautifully sum up the fact that baptism can mean so many different things to different people. That won’t change. But, at the heart of it, there has to be an experience of the reality of God.
As long as that is there, you can let the story of it take it’s own route.