Dear church,

I wonder what you remember from your own baptism. Do you recall where you were baptized – who was there and what it was like? Do you recall the water, whether it was cold or warm? Do you remember the words of the pastor or the person who baptized you?

“He saved us … by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

I was baptized in 1989 at Riverlawn Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas. I was baptized by the youth pastor. I don’t recall anything he said. “By the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” – I suppose so.

I do remember as I was dunked that my feet slipped out from under me, and I took a big backstroke with my left arm to try to keep from sinking further under water. I remember my uncle, who was present to witness this, joked with me about it later.

And so my baptism was a bit of an embarrassment for me.

But this was the most important day of my life. The day of my baptism was the day I experienced “regeneration.” That was the day the Holy Spirit entered my life. In short, that was the day I was given new life. We can think here of being “born again” – dead, buried, and raised.

The picture for me is appropriate. I was a 11-year-old kid, slipping under the water, flailing on my own to try to avoid sinking. And I was pulled upright by someone else.

This is an appropriate picture for me because the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” is not something we do on our own. We aren’t saved by works done by us in righteousness.

Sin causes us to sink. Someone Else pulls us upright.

What do you recall from your baptism?


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