Monday, August 29, 2005

Down to the River to Pray

We went down to the river to pray yesterday. Not just any river, but a particular place on a particular river. Stanley wanted to be baptized and had a very special place in mind.

Since I come from a baptizing tradition - I mean serious as hell about baptizing, or maybe it is serious as heaven. Either way, we were baptizers in a big way.

But Steve's baptism last week and Stanley's yesterday were not the result of "a sit down Bible study" which ends up with a dissertation on proper Christian baptism (with all the proof texts in tow) and the question "so do you want to be baptized and go to heaven or stay like you are on the road to hell?"

No, they asked for baptism as part of their continuing journey of being drawn to God. Their participation in fellowship and through being loved and accepted is what moved them to ask for baptism. Their faith was ready to be expressed in this new way, a declaration of accepting Christ and his way even more fully.

This new acceptance wasn't based on new understandings of modes and the meaning of baptism, but on their changing lives and deeper understanding of the need to rely on God. Conversion isn't a point in time like their baptisms, but a process over time with many "points" of newness and change.


A said...

Strains of Alison Kraus and Union Station runnin' through my head now. But hey, I love that tune. Having spent some time in your particular "baptizing tradition" along the path I have travelled, I can kinda relate to where you are coming from. Reading between the lines a bit I guess, this post says volumes about your journey and the place you and your community are now at, if you don't mind my saying so. I think you feel like it's a good place, and it is. I wanted to affirm that. I continue to resonate with your "voice." Peace to you.

Allen Coker said...

Thanks, Greg, for pointing us in the direction of what is truly important. So much of this spiritual journey, of God transforming us, is mysterious and can't be reduced to formulas.