Baptism Celebration

H2O Baptism Celebration

We baptized seven people today, just outside of Bowman Hall. And honestly, it felt even more special than I expected.

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I mean, it’s always exciting to watch people publicly proclaim their faith in Jesus. And every time, I’m encouraged by the story-telling and celebration and symbolism that make any baptism memorable. But this one was extra-special because of (1) its place in history, (2) the way that it felt, and (3) the involvement of some specific individuals who are particularly special to me.

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The “place in history” piece is significant because the last time we had a baptism celebration just outside of Bowman Hall was on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Later that week, everything shut down due to the Coronavirus. Of course, we found other ways to continue cultivating faith and fellowship. And we even had some really special baptism celebrations. But being back at Bowman for baptisms again this weekend felt like a homecoming. And it made us realize that we don’t want to take these sorts of experiences for granted.

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It’s harder to describe the way that it felt at this baptism celebration. Let’s just say that the atmosphere was electric. Many of the people who got baptized invited their friends and family to come watch. So the crowd was bigger than usual. And maybe there was some pent-up energy from the COVID hiatus. But in any event, it felt like there was this pregnant pause when each person was lowered beneath the surface of the water — representing the death and burial of one’s self-centered, sinful ways…

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And then there was an explosion of noise and joy when each person came back up out of the water — representing the person’s resurrection to new life in Jesus. A renewed identity for a renewed era. I don’t know. I can’t exactly explain it. But it really felt like we got to celebrate seven resurrections! Seven triumphs of God’s grace. Seven new starts — both for the individuals involved, and for our church as a whole.

H2O Baptism Celebration

I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. It was an honor to watch Sabrina, Maddie, and Hannah take that step to follow Jesus during their time at Kent State University (even though I don’t know any of them very well). But it was next-level special to celebrate the baptisms of Maddie and Bryce (who are almost like a niece and nephew to me) and Luke (who has become a dear friend and co-laborer in the Gospel).

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Best of all, Marci and I got to baptize our own daughter, Olivia! I was so proud — both as a pastor and as a father — to hear Olivia share her story of choosing to follow Jesus and proclaim her faith through baptism.

H2O Baptism Celebration

Olivia even invited a bunch of her friends to come and witness the occasion because she wanted them to experience the H2O church community and hear her story, along with everyone else from the church. She’s a lovely young woman, both inwardly and outwardly, and I’m excited to see what God is going to do in her and through her in the years to come.

H2O Baptism Celebration
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