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Joyful Baptism

Clouds hung low in the late October sky, and a chill breeze tingled our ears, but we hardly noticed as we made our way down the steep path leading to the river. Someone began singing “Shall We Gather at the River,” and we all joined in, our anticipation increasing as we reached the riverbank.

After a few moments, my father—the pastor—and my friend Annie waded into the frigid water of this natural baptistry. My dad spoke a few brief words. Then, raising his hand into the sky, he baptized Annie “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As my friend was immersed under the water and quickly lifted out, cameras flashed and “amens” arose from the shore.

As I watched my friend take this important step in her life, I renewed my own baptismal vows. Annie and I had both chosen to give ourselves to Jesus, to become part of His organized church—part of His family. We knew baptism of itself had no power to make us perfect. Instead, it showed our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, dwell in us, and transform us.

The two dripping figures soon stumbled out of the water and wrapped themselves in towels and blankets. Despite the cold weather, our spirits soared with the joy of seeing a new member join God’s family.

The decision to be baptized is one of the most important decisions we can make. If you’ve been delaying, why not talk to your pastor today?

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