Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Baptism Should Mean Something

Recently someone asked me if I could give an account of my salvation, and I can't.  I am saved according to all I understand from the Bible about the meaning of salvation, but I got here by a circuitous route--it was not the simple act of asking Jesus to forgive my sin and live in my heart as I have heard many times over the years.  Here is the story; if you see how it happened, let me know.

When I was nine years old, someone came to my Sunday school class on the Sunday before Palm Sunday and asked if any of us wanted to join the church on Palm Sunday.  The District Superintendent was going to visit on Palm Sunday, and somebody, the preacher of some of the teachers, thought it would look good to have a bunch of kids get baptized and join the church that day.

Reflecting on the event I question this method of evangelism.  It seems artificial and unchristian.  Nothing I have learned about salvation is included in here.

On Palm Sunday there I was in my new pink taffeta dress with 14 other kids my age and some older.  My mother was there for moral support.  My chief concern was the disastrous effect the water the D.S. put on my head in the sacred act would make my curls fall.

I went to Church off and on through my high school years.  My mother died the year after the baptism, and my father was not a member of the Church.  Others relatives and friends wooed me to Church for Vacation Bible School and parties.  Eventually I began to get a sense of guilt about my foolish and stupid behavior which I read as conviction.  I never strayed far from Church.  It was safe and I knew people there.  Mostly they were friendly.

I'll be 76 years old on my birthday, and I still cannot tell you when I began to believer in Jesus as my Lord and my Savior.  I guess I find it a little embarrassing that I cannot identify the time I first truly believed in Jesus.  I find the fact of salvation astonishing and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross absolutely amazing, but I don't know the time when it became real to me.  I do know that on Palm Sunday of the year I was 9 is the time when Jesus believed in me. He led me and guided me and spoke to me since that day even though I just did it to look good for the D. S. on Palm Sunday. 

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