The Glorious Awkwardness of Baptism
By Jon Nicol
Have you seen one lately? Not the ceremonial sprinkles that our mainline brothers and sisters do, but the full-on drench.
There's no graceful way to have someone drop you under and drag you back up. Water in your eyes. Hair matted to your face. Nose plugged. And then there's the 50, 100, 1000 eyes watching this holy dunking.
If that's not bad enough, even the most painfully shy stand up before they are submerged and give a testimony.
Do you realize how weird it is?
You can videotape the testimonies and prep the baptismal candidate all you want, but when a sacrament requires at least 3 feet of water and wet clothes in church, there's no escaping the awkward.
Nor should there be.
It's really about dying. Death is never neat, convenient or comfortable. And this physical sign of our spiritual descent into Christ's death is no less so. The person is in essence saying, "to hell with myself and my image," and gives in to the glorious awkwardness of following Christ into baptism.
Then, just like it was on Sunday morning after Jesus died, we are pulled from our water grave. Death gives way to life. The old is replaced by the new. Awkward is overcome by applause.
There's a party.
We're alive with Jesus.
April 16, 2012Tweet