There’s nothing quite like the anticipation on the morning you’re going to be baptized. Yesterday morning there were six who had done their preparation work in Pastor’s Class and one-on-one time with me who were nervously, excitedly, patiently and not so patiently waiting for the big moment. With especial thanks to Emily Charalambous who makes it her job every year to be our “baptism mom” behind the scenes holding the towels, mopping up, doing whatever needs to be done. And this year, a shout-out to Patrick Reed — one of the nervous ones last year — who took it upon himself this year to keep it loose (but not too loose!) for his six friends in the minutes before the service began.
The congregation was filled with anticipation also, especially given the new format this year of a worship service reserved just for baptism. It was a good mix of first service and second service folks, meeting in the middle of the morning to celebrate as one church these six who were being baptized into The Church. Immediate and extended families and our Disciples’ children were crowded together up close in the choir loft and on the chancel floor to get a birds-eye view, while photos of each were up on the big-screen for all to see.
I was filled with as much anticipation as anyone! Baptism Sundays never get old for a pastor. The Parade of Palms that followed just added to the excitement of the day.
Our newly baptized were eagerly and anxiously awaiting their big moment yesterday. Our congregation with these newest members as special guests celebrated with lunch and cake and laughter. Such a special day! And this morning we woke up and it was Monday again, time to get back on track with school and work, doing homework and paying bills. Making choices about how to live. Will the effects of yesterday linger? Will we still be a little wet-behind-the ears with anticipation for the possibilities of a life immersed in Jesus Christ? Will we still feel the power of the Holy Spirit that descended on us yesterday? Will it make a difference?
I pray so. Because for as big a moment as we experienced yesterday, there are more big moments ahead. It is Holy Week. Christ’s Passion. Maundy Thursday and remembrance of Jesus’ last supper nears. The cross of Good Friday afternoon looms large. Our baptisms and proud church family moments must bring us also to the foot of the cross. The anticipation of the empty tomb and the glory of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter morning is best experienced through a determined and faithful walk through the darkness of this week that precedes it.
Join me on that walk?